Jerry's Army & Navy Store

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Jerry's Army and Navy Store (started by Jerry Rich) on the corner of Essex and Summer streets was a long-time sporting goods store in downtown Salem. They carried many well-known brands such as Carhartt, Helly Hansen and Dickies. They also sold camping and other outdoor equipment in the basement level.

The store began in 1929 at 162 Washington Street (near the Salem Depot) and moved to the Essex and Summer corner in 1954, taking over the storefront of the former Mohegan's Market.

During his early years in business, Jerry Rich would buy World War I surplus boots, shirts and pants at government auction in New York City, returning overnight to sell them in his store.

In 1961, Rich founded Rich's Department Stores with his sons, Bennett and Howard and his son-in-law, Joel Saxe. They eventually grew the Rich's chain to 28 stores in Maine, Massachusetts, N.Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Saxe brothers of Marblehead took over Jerry's in 1996. They opened other Jerry's stores in Wilmington, Rowley, and Nashua, N.H. but eventually closed them all. When Rich's first closed their stores, Jerry's was not affected. Jerry's is now owned by two of Jerry's grandsons.

The one in Salem, the original one was the last to close in 2005. The competition from big box stores at the malls became too great. The Salem store closed sometime late summer of 2005.

Witch City Consignment and Thrift Store took over the building and operates there.

Rich's operated a store on Highland Avenue. In 1997, Wal-Mart moved into the empty Rich's Store.

See Also

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Businesses #2

"Discount store owner used 'surplus' time to build a chain" Salem Evening News, Aug. 16, 1989, p. A12

"Everything must go...eventually. Salem clothes-shopping mecca shutting down this summer" Salem News, May 13, 2005, p. A10

"Jerry Rich, Salem retailer, dies" Salem Evening News, May 8, 1995, p. 1

"How a family business went bankrupt; Rich's owner vows store chain will recapture past success" Salem Evening News, Apr.11, 1996, p. A1

"Owner's say Rich's will shut down" Salem Evening News, Dec. 20, 1996, p A1

Salem Through Time Curley and Dionne, p. 10 (photo)

"Wal-Mart to move into Rich's" Salem Evening News, Apr. 25, 1997, p. A1