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Salem’s Main Street small businesses looking for fresh start in 2021

Main Street construction is estimated to be done by April

Salem Main Street construction
Salem Main Street construction (WSLS 10)

SALEM, Va. – Local businesses dealt with extremely challenging circumstances in 2020, including on Salem’s Main Street.

Main Street is the undisputed center of Salem’s small business scene.

Jose and Maria Frausto’s restaurant, Muchacho Alegre, has called Main Street home for two years.

“It kind of feels a little bit competitive, but over time, we’re all a big family sticking by each other,” the Frausto’s said.

The row of restaurants keeps Roanoke College grads, Meredith Dickerson and Amber Gregory, coming back for more.

“It’s just nice to be back. It’s homey, it feels a lot like home, and I’ve missed that a lot,” they said.

However, COVID-19 made 2020 a year to forget for some of these shops.

The Fraustro’s say business often slowed down to a snail’s pace.

“2020 has been really tough, as is coronavirus in general. Hopefully, 2021 will be a new chapter for the restaurant,” said the Fraustro’s.

The new chapter begins with another c-word: construction.

Salem and VDOT have been revitalizing Main Street with new sidewalks and street signs, and there’s still work to do on the project.

“It does look nice. It was very much a pain trying to get places,” said Dickerson and Gregory.

Main Street will look a little different at the end of 2021, but the Fraustro’s hope the renewed small-town charm means the eventual return of the pre-pandemic crowd.

“Meeting new, wonderful people every single day. Having support from nearly everybody in this whole town. It’s very amazing,” said the Fraustro’s.

The City of Salem estimates construction will finish by April.