By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — While some news reports paint a pessimistic picture of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Gerard Durling wants to tell another story.
Durling, founder of the internet and video marketing business Coal Creative in Wilkes-Barre, said he plans to work on a video showing the area in a positive light.
“It’s all in your perception of the area,” he said. “A lot of people who are complaining about the things there are or aren’t to do in our area are also going to be the same people who are going to go to a bigger city and probably do something that they can do here for five times less the cost.”
He said if people put as much work into planning to do things in Northeastern Pennsylvania as they did planning a vacation, “they would probably find there are a lot of different things that are really great to do here.”
Durling, 31, of Kingston and formerly of Pittston, founded Coal Creative in 2010 and worked out of his house. The business’s name is tied into the local roots of the area, a former coal mining region. He formerly was a website designer and handled marketing for igourmet.com and TABcom.
In 2012, Coal Creative moved into its current location on the eighth floor of the Luzerne Bank Building on Public Square, which includes a green screen video production studio. The business designs websites, helps businesses with social media marketing and produces videos. Its local clients include local internet entrepreneur Kris Jones, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce and the Woodlands Inn & Resort in Plains Twp. as well as Chikara, a professional wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia.
Coal Creative has grown and now has nine employees and six interns.
Its staff and interns highlight local creative people in a weekly series of 60-second videos called #NEPACreative posted on Wednesdays on the business’s Facebook page.
Holly Pilcavage, director of business development for Coal Creative, came up with the idea for the weekly video series.
“This is our New Year’s resolution to highlight 52 different creative people from the NEPA region,” she said. “It’s just our way of giving back and helping shine light on the incredible people in the area.”
Durling said the videos help to humanize the area and show people can be creative here.
“They don’t need to live in Los Angeles to be creative,” he said. “They are doing it here.”
Coal Creative was one of four local businesses recently highlighted in videos at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber’s Spotlight Series held in the THINK Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Durling said the idea of the Wilkes-Barre Connect Spotlight Series was to show local college students all the opportunities that exist in the area.
Videos also highlighted internet marketing company Pepperjam and Wilkes-Barre digital marketing services firm LSEO as well as the locally developed app Tunefly.
“The idea was to inspire college students to look at our area in a different way and see there are people who are trying to do these things here,” Durling said. “Each of the videos highlighted was a different person talking about internship programs available here. It’s not you going to get coffee. It’s you coming in and being a part of the experience with our companies.”