By BOB KALINOWSK, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — Hundreds of people continue to pop in the holiday pop-up shops in Midtown Village downtown. By all accounts, the experimental marketplace has been a big success.
Vendors looking to possibly bring a brick-and-mortar store to center city are getting a shot to sell their goods and holiday shoppers get to browse in an indoor-flea market atmosphere.
“This is a 30-day, rent-free test,” Lindsay Bezick, vice president of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday.
Thursday’s event, billed as a “pop-up shop for a cause,” raised money for the Brighter Journeys charity, which assists special needs children.
The pop-up shops are open 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 16.
Patty Leighton, who has run the Bee Hive Gift Shop in Midtown Village for nearly 10 years, said Saturday’s pop-up shop debut brought in so many customers that it was her busiest day ever.
“They are bringing a ton of people in. It’s all new customers. I’m thrilled,” Leighton said.
Thirteen vendors comprise the pop-up shops, selling art, jewelry, candles, home decor, dresses and more. There’s a cupcake baker, a candy shop and an imported cheese and wine stand.
Allan McLaughlin, 33, of JAM’s Art Studio, said he and his co-owner are looking for a bigger studio in the downtown for their growing side project. They work as graphic designers for Pepperjam downtown and live downtown, so they figure having a location in the heart of the city makes sense.
“We do everything else down here,” McLaughlin said.
Photographer Brittany Boote, 29, who currently has a studio in Forty Fort, said she always wanted a downtown location with a lot of foot traffic passing by.
“I love Wilkes-Barre. Downtown is where it’s at,” she said. “I have had this dream of having my name on a storefront with people walking by.”