Old Salem closed due to computer problem after winter weather power outage

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WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- A popular tourist destination in Winston-Salem that prides itself on showing visitors what like was like in the 18th century is closed because of a 21st century problem.

Old Salem has been closed since Friday night when the power went off in that part of town during the height of the winter weather.

But even with the nice weather in the following days it still can’t reopen after the weather-related power failure put the popular destination in an unexpected predicament.

“A little snow would have made it really, really special and we wanted that, we wanted just enough snow to make it nice but not too much snow,” said Franklin Vagnone, the Old Salem president and CEO.

It wasn’t the snow but the effect of a blown transformer during the storm and a subsequent power surge that fried Old Salem’s computer system and the server that contained all of its retail and membership information; a 21st century malfunction that puts the 18th century destination out of business until it’s fixed.

“We have all of this behind the scenes activity and much of it is technologically driven and it makes them feel a kind of domesticity, a kind of nostalgia, but in order to maintain that nostalgia takes a lot of behind the scenes effort,” Vagnone said.

As a result, Old Salem canceled several scheduled events over the weekend and a meet and greet with Santa Monday for kids with special needs. And people who didn’t get the word of the closing showed up to buy the sweets, only to be turned away.

“People are really disappointed, they’re coming here specifically for Winkler baked goods or to buy Christmas presents in the store or they have out of town guests and they want to come and show them Old Salem,” Vagnone said.

Old Salem hopes to reopen to the public by Wednesday.