Salem Museum Speaker Series: Bringing Back the Dilly Dally

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Like many, Lisa and Reid Garst had dreamed about buying the Dilly Dally, a South Salem landmark. When it went on the market in 2018, they took action. On Monday, November 18 at 7:30 pm, Lisa will talk about historic preservation, community development, and bringing back the Dilly Dally. Her talk at the Salem Museum is free and open to the public.

For over a century, the Dilly Dally and its predecessors on the corner of Eddy and Front streets had been a vital part of the neighborhood. Constructed in 1910, the building housed several businesses before the Dilly Dally, including a grocery store, a beauty salon, an antique shop and a church. There was also a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor.

Raymond McNulty opened the Dilly Dally in 1981 as a drop-in spot for snacks and beverages and named the shop for customers who would come in and just “dilly-dally” around. McNulty’s brother Roger bought the business in 1985 and ran it until his death in 2010. The much-loved country store and convenience shop closed in 2011, and the building had been empty until the Garsts purchased it a year ago.

Since then, the Garsts have secured a historic designation and begun work to bring the building back to life. The Garsts’ vision is to make the new Dilly Dally an active part of its tight-knit neighborhood as a market and general store that offers convenience items, ice cream, and— with the greenway nearby—possibly fishing supplies and bike rentals, also.

Lisa grew up in Covington and has lived in Salem for 20 years, serving on Salem City Council for two terms. Reid is a Salem native. They love their small town roots and want to be invested in the things that matter to the community. They have a daughter, Ashby, and two dogs, Auggie and Mango.

Note: The Salem Museum Annual Membership Meeting begins on November 18 at 7 pm, followed by the talk at 7:30.