By Dan Stokes, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — If you’re walking in the downtown area and looking to do some holiday shopping, you now have the option of popping in at a pop-up.
The Midtown Village located at 41 S. Main St. is again serving as home for the Holiday Pop-Up Shops, which proved successful in their debut last year.
The shops are sponsored by the PPL Foundation, which was able to secure a $5,000 grant.
“I’m really proud to support the community and local businesses,” said Alana Roberts, PPL Foundation regional affairs director. “There’s a lot of great energy here. It’s nice to support our local entrepreneurs.”
“An event like this brings the community together,” said Denise Ogurkis, owner of 3girlsoils LLC. “I think people are excited to shop locally because we aren’t big box stores or chains. We are real people trying to put food on our tables.”
Ogurkis said she played a large role in getting businesses and vendors to take part in the Pop-Up Shops.
“I do a lot of shows in the area,” Ogurkis, of Harveys Lake, added. “So I know quite a few vendors who would be interested. I think small businesses are eager to grow and they want to work with others who will help them grow.”
Ogurkis noted that although there are 11 vendors that will call the Midtown Village home for the holidays, six of them will be there every weekend. The other five will rotate in on a weekly basis.
“Based on last year, we tweaked some things,” said Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership. “We wanted to have some great local businesses that were fixtures here last year while bringing new ones into the fold and we listened to the feedback and are now open on Sundays.”
He continued: “Downtown Wilkes-Barre has come a long way in the last decade. We heard we needed to focus on the local businesses and retail space. It’s easier said than done because the retail industry has gone through a profound transformation. Pop-Up Shops have become popular and I think they work.”
Newman said if the Pop-Up Shops continue to be a success, they might become a more frequent occurrence.
‘Check things out’
While people shopped local, Christmas music filled the air.
“This shopping event gives me an opportunity to have a storefront during the busiest time of the year,” said pop-up vendor Danielle Mimms, owner of The Bearded Ladies & Co. “I just want people to come down and check things out.”
“All of my products are for dogs,” added Mimms, of Dallas. “All of my products are made in Pennsylvania.”
The Pop-Up Shops are supported by the Diamond City Partnership, the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association and the City of Wilkes-Barre.
They will run for five weekends until the weekend before Christmas. Themed weekends are planned, including: decor and seasonal, sparkles and spirits, Christmas Candyland and ‘Twas the Weekend Before Christmas.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the shops will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The hours are noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.