WILKES-BARRE — A historic building in downtown Wilkes-Barre soon will be the new home to a spa and salon.
Sherrilyn Tarapchak and Amy Siejk are turning the former Lane’s dress shop at 88 S. Franklin St. into Alexander’s Spa and Salon.
Alexander’s currently has locations in downtown Scranton and in the Woodlands Inn & Resort in Plains Township. They hope to open in Wilkes-Barre by September and plan to employ 40 to 50 people at their new location.
Alexander’s opened in Scranton in 1994 on Linden Street. After needing more room, Alexander’s moved to its present location in a three-story historic building at 431 Lackawanna Ave. in Scranton in 2001. The location employs nearly 70 people and offers a number of spa and hair services.
The downtown Wilkes-Barre location will have a steam room and sauna and will offer services such as massage therapy, skin care treatments, body scrubs, hair and makeup services, manicures and pedicures, Taraphchak and Siejk said. They also hope to expand into wellness services — such as acupuncture — that the Scranton location offers.
Alexander’s has had a smaller location in the Woodlands for the last six years that employs about 18, and serves area residents and hotel guests. They will continue to operate this location, where they have built a clientele in the area with their hair staff and have been looking for years to expand to support more services.
The South Franklin Street location will be able to accommodate wedding parties who want hair and makeup services, manicures and pedicures, Tarapchak said.
“We just fell in love with the downtown area,” she said. “As soon as we saw the building, we fell in love with it and didn’t want to look any further.”
Showing the work underway inside the three-story brick building on South Franklin Street, they said they plan to keep its historic features such as its chandeliers. The interior architecture in the downtown Wilkes-Barre building mirrors their Scranton location, Tarapchak said.
“That’s the feel at Alexander’s; we like the downtown location but keeping it how it should be, not knocking everything down and making it uber-modern,” Siejk said. “We like to keep the character, the history.”
The building at 88 S. Franklin St. was built in 1896 and designed by architect Albert H. Kipp, one of the best known Victorian architects in the city at the time, originally for Attorney B.M. Espy, according to Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership. After Lane’s dress shop closed, the owner continued to live in the building, he said.
According to a property transaction, co-trustees Sylvia Lane and Abby Cameron Greene sold the building last year for $250,000. Lane, the wife of the late Samuel Lane, is developer Seymour Holtzman’s sister.
Newman said he welcomes Alexander’s to downtown Wilkes-Barre and he thinks they made a “great decision.”
“We’re very excited about this new private investment in the heart of the downtown,” Newman said. “Alexander’s has been a very successful business in its other locations and we think the plans are very exciting.”