Meg Hibbert, Contributing Writer
For more than 100 years the two-story wooden building at the southwest corner of Colorado and Seventh Street has been a part of the community. Years ago, it was Salem Mercantile and for about the last 30 years, Hickson Lock & Key.
Now the building’s new owner is looking for help from the community in finding photos or descriptions of the exterior, which once was painted with “Drink Pepsi,” owner John Lipscomb said.
He is restoring the building with hopes of it perhaps becoming a store again, he said, and has already uncovered the pressed tin ceiling that comes partially down the walls.
“The architectural detail on the front is really nice,” Lipscomb said, “and a lot of fluting on the woodwork.” He added that some of the corners beams were put together with wooden pegs.
“We’re keeping as much of the historic building as we can. The sign on the side dates back to the origins of the building,” he added. “We plan to renovate the upstairs as an apartment as it had been years ago.”
The refurbished building could be a lot of things, Lipscomb added. “I think it will be very attractive for someone to use as a specific store type use.”
He did not know what the store’s name had been, but noted it was Bud’s Auto Parts before Hickson’s.
A plea to members of the Salem Virginia History Facebook page produced several memories.
Susan Gray said it was Salem Mercantile when she was young. Patsy Horne Conner recalled a liquidation sale where her parents bought jeans for her. “They had a zipper inside the right-hand pocket,” she wrote. “I hated those pants because they weren’t like everyone else’s jeans…but now it seems like it would be a great design.”
Elizabeth Wade Bowles said she lived in the apartment upstairs after college, from 1991 to 1993.
Lipscomb said if he can find a photograph of the exterior with the Pepsi sign he would pay to get it professionally painted again.
Anyone with information or photos of the building can contact Lipscomb’s office at 540-563-9903.
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