By Brigid Edmunds, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Carolers serenaded shoppers as they entered the Holiday Pop Up Shops on Thursday night.
It was the second day of business for the experimental shops downtown; however, visitors to the space in Midtown Village were doing more than just picking up gifts for loved ones.
The night’s festivities — Shop Pop Up for a Cause — raised money for Brighter Journeys, an organization that benefits special-needs children in Luzerne County. Each shopper paid a $5 entrance fee that went to the group, as well as the proceeds from a silent auction.
In addition to the regular vendors, local businesses such as Van Scoy Diamond, Valley Running Company and McCarthy Tire donated items to be auctioned off.
Bernice Sando, co-founder of Brighter Journeys, said the foundation provides support, information and medical items not covered by insurance for families with special-needs children.
Sando, who founded the organization with Lisa Urbanski, said she was blown away by the turnout.
“It’s just a really beautiful event,” she said.
Lindsay Bezick, vice president of the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, was pleased to see the Pop Up Shops serving the greater good.
“It’s great to see people coming out from the community,” she said.
Two children from Brighter Journeys also got a chance to participate in Thursday’s fun. They took part in a fashion show held in Midtown Village’s courtyard.
Bezick said the night exhibited a sense of community between businesses, pointing to the fact that restaurants were offering discounts to those taking part in Shop for a Cause.
“It’s really a wonderful opportunity,” Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, said of the shops. “Midtown is a facility that people have been waiting to see come alive.”
The shops, which feature 11 local businesses, will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 16.
These are the retailers participating:
• Buka — apparel
• Nawrocki Imports — gourmet cheese and imported wine
• Mia Bella Candles, Scent Sations Inc. — home scents
• Whipped Sweet Shoppe — gourmet cupcakes
• The Bearded Ladies — trendy pet accessories
• 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