By Bill O’Boyle, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Downtown shoppers will soon see some new businesses — 12 to be exact — popping up for the holidays.
At a breakfast Tuesday morning, the Diamond City Partnership, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association will announce a new center-city option for this year’s Christmas shopping: “Pop-Up Shops.”
There will be 12 retailers participating in the pop-up program, located at Midtown Village, 41 South Main St., for the holidays, beginning on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25) through Saturday, Dec. 16.
The Downtown Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Shops program is being made possible through the the PPL Foundation and Insalaco Development Group.
According to Lindsay Bezick, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce vice president, and Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, the program will give downtown shoppers a whole new array of retail choices, provided by some of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s best independent retailers, during the holiday season. At the same time, those retailers are getting the chance to “test-drive” a downtown storefront.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to expand the number of quality independent retail offerings in Downtown Wilkes-Barre,” Newman said. “While we’ve been making terrific progress with downtown revitalization, our surveys show that retail continues to be a weak spot.”
Newman said one of the actions in DCP’s current Downtown Action Plan is to “focus on targeted retail recruitment that reinforces our strategic goals” – and, he said thanks to the support of the PPL Foundation, the Holiday Pop-Ups are a way to do just that.
“The Pop-Ups will provide downtown shoppers with a whole group of terrific new retail choices, driving additional traffic to our existing downtown retailers and restaurants during the holiday shopping season while we provide our participating Holiday Pop-Up retailers with an opportunity to test-drive a downtown storefront,” Newman added.
Bezick and Newman said the Pop-Up Shop program will fill Midtown Village’s available retail spaces with a curated selection of local independent retailers for the 2017 holiday season. The program is also intended to support downtown’s existing stores by generating increased pedestrian traffic and making Wilkes-Barre’s center city a destination for an even wider range of unique holiday gifts.
Bezick said the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber has always had a large focus on small business and economic development in the region.
“The Holiday Pop-Up Shops are going to be a wonderful addition to our downtown to help encourage and promote current businesses and attract potential new ones,” Bezick said. “This also provides our community with specialized and high quality shopping options during the holiday season.”
The retailers that will participate in the Holiday Pop-Up Shops at Midtown Village:
• Buka — apparel
• Nawrocki Imports — gourmet cheese & imported wine
• Mia Bella Candles, Scent Sations Inc. — home scents
• Michael Allen Designs — unique woodwork furniture & furnishings
• Whipped Sweet Shoppe — gourmet cupcakes
• The Bearded Ladies — trendy pet accessories
• Brittany Boote — photography
• Alan McLaughlin — artwork
• MadebyDMarie — handcrafted jewelry
• Threegirls Oils — essential oils
• Sip N’ Silk — fragrance and painted silk scarves
• Natalie’s Kombucha Juice — specialty juices
The Holiday Pop-Up Shops will be open from Thursday through Saturday each week with select hours. Complementary seasonal musical programs and other special features are being planned for Midtown Village’s central plaza throughout the Pop-Up Shops’ run.
All Pop-Up Shops will be able to validate customer parking in the Parking Authority’s Lot No. 6 (adjoining Midtown Village on West Northampton Street) and in Central Garage (across South Main Street from Midtown Village).
“We’re thrilled to work with our fellow downtowners to bring more businesses to Downtown Wilkes-Barre,” said Midtown Village’s owner, Sandy Insalaco Jr. of Insalaco Development Group. “We all have the same goal — filling center city storefronts — and this project is a big step in the right direction.”
For more information, visit DCP’s website at www.downtownwilkes-barre.org, or on Facebook via the Diamond City Partnership, or the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce.
About Diamond City Partnership
The Diamond City Partnership (DCP) is Wilkes-Barre’s not-for-profit downtown management organization, serving as the caretaker of our community’s vision for Downtown Wilkes-Barre. DCP also manages the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District, which provides a range of supplementary services to Downtown’s property and business owners. Visit us online at www.wbdcp.org.
About Greater W-B Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber’s mission statement is to unite and support those community-conscious business organizations and individuals in Luzerne County and to seek to enhance the business climate, business success, quality of life and general welfare in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
About Downtown W-B Business Association
The Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association (DWBBA) is a membership association of businesses and organizations who are committed to working together to promote, maintain, and encourage Downtown Wilkes-Barre’s economic well-being and quality of life through cooperative promotion, marketing, and improvement activities. Visit us online at https://www.facebook.com/DWBBA.