Named after Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce, the original owners of the privateering vessel the Friendship, whose functioning replica floats adjacent to the new store’s location at the end of Derby Wharf, the Waite & Peirce National Park Information and Museum Store is dedicated to illustrating the illustrious trading careers of the duo that helped establish Salem as America’s premier port after the Revolution.
According to Fred Shamlain, CEO of Shamlian, the store’s creative agency of record, Waite and Peirce was “designed both as a unique shopping venue and a vivid microcosm of Salem Maritime. The new-brand honors the patriots and privateers whose daring high seas raids of British merchant ships helped win the American Revolution.” The store also reflects Salem’s rich history as the first port of entrance into the country for many luxury goods that came from across the globe. These goods were transported by the daring seamen who crewed and captained ships like the Friendship, which made 15 voyages across the Atlantic in its prime, stopping at such exotic ports as India, Africa, Sumatra, and Russia in its tireless mission to bring back only the best for American consumers to enjoy.
The store’s list of products reads like the inventory of a merchant vessel laden with foreign delicacies like tea, china, ceramics, spices, and other goods that were in high demand at the end of the 18th century. True to its tagline, “Authentic and Exotic,” the store’s wares vary from whole leaf tea, premium spices and replicas of period ceramics to maps and history books, all aimed to educate visitors on the history of the store. Shamlain says that there is “a growing selection of hand-crafted American products from artisanal companies whose craftsmanship honors the enterprising ship builders, sail makers, and artisans who contributed so much to Salem’s vitality and wealth.”
The store also features gifts geared toward the more modern minded shopper like T-shirts, guidebooks, and marine-themed games and stuffed animals as well as information on Salem’s many historic sites and other notable destinations.
As mentioned in the name, Waite & Peirce has a connection to the National Park Service. Opened this year to help celebrate the National Park Service’s (NPS) 100th anniversary, proceeds from the store’s sales contribute to ensuring the continued success of Salem’s Maritime sites as well as other historic sites and parks across the country, allowing them to be enjoyed by crowds of curious minds and adventurers for many years to come.
The store is operated by the nonprofit organization Eastern National, whose goal is “supporting the interpretive, educational, and scientific programs and services of the National Park Service,” according to their website.
“The Waite & Peirce National Park Information and Museum Store serves as a liaison to the National Park Service, operating as a retail store, as well as providing information about Salem Maritime National Historic Park to visitors, including tour times, programs, activities, and background on the sites that are part of the park,” says Emily Geesaman, Eastern National Marketing Manger. Daily tours of the park depart and return to the store, where rangers wait to answer visitors’ questions.
“The Waite & Peirce brand celebrates courage, optimism and enterprise, as reflected in the phrase ‘Fortune Favors the Bold.’ That spirit still lives in Salem today, from the creative energy of the world-class Peabody-Essex museum to the vitality of Salem’s ‘magic and witchcraft’ community,” adds Shamlain.
Take a moment to honor this spirit, which permeates the air around us, this holiday season by stopping in at Waite & Peirce National Park Information and Museum Store. A gift from the store is a gift of history for generations to come.
Open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday- Sunday. 193 Derby St., Salem. 978-744-4319. WaiteandPeirce@gmail.com. Waiteandpeirce.com. Easternnational.org. Nps.gov.