Holiday Pop-up Shops Open In Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE — Small business owner Ronne Kurlancheek hasn’t let a tornado slow her down.
More than five months after a tornado destroyed her furniture showroom and warehouse building on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Twp., Kurlancheek Home Furnishings became one of 11 anchor vendors to open holiday pop-up shops in Midtown Village in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George and Lindsay Bezick, vice president of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, used giant scissors to cut a ribbon to officially open the shops on Small Business Saturday. They were joined by other officials from the city, chamber, Diamond City Partnership and the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association.
Inside the pop-up shops, Kurlancheek showed some items she will sell like one-of-kind chests and trunks, a table and recliner. She expects the pop-up shops will draw crowds to downtown Wilkes-Barre for the holiday shopping season.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s the first time I participated in a pop-up shop.”
Kurlancheek Home Furnishings has been in business for more than 112 years.
Since the June 13 tornado, Kurlancheek has been operating a temporary location in the former Gateway Cinema in Edwardsville. She said she will soon announce a grand opening at a new location. She could not say where because she hasn’t signed the lease yet.
During Saturday’s grand opening, Tara Siegel offered Kurlancheek a sample of the fermented drink Counterpart Kombucha that her sister Natalie Lynn makes in Drums.
Counterpart Kombucha, that sells for $6, will be another anchor pop-up shop in Midtown Village as well as Scent-Sations, buka, 3girlsoils, JAMS Art Studio, Boote Photography Studio, The Bearded Ladies & Co., Whipped Sweet Shoppe, MCR Design Group and Osterhout Free Library.
Bob Scocozzo, who runs Scent-Sations with his partner Charles Umphred, showed 16-ounce Mia Bells candles they are selling in about 50 different fragrances for $15.95, a markdown of 20 percent off.
If customers don’t see a scent they like, they could come to their building on George Avenue in Wilkes-Barre where there are about 150 different fragrances.
Scocozzo said this is their second holiday season having a pop-up shop in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
“We love it,” he said. “We liked it last year. It got awareness out. A lot of people didn’t know they could come to our building and buy retail because we really don’t advertise. We manufacture there.”
Many Scent-Sations’ customers order candles online, but Scocozzo said they are remodeling their building on George Avenue and it will become a big outlet store by the first quarter of next year.
In addition to the 11 anchors, Bezick said other vendors will rotate in the pop-up shops that were made possible through the PPL Foundation and Insalaco Development Group.
Insalaco Development Group, which owns the formerly vacant storefronts in Midtown Village, does not charge vendors to rent space for pop-up shops throughout the holiday season, said Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership.
“In the long-term, what we are hoping is that we are going to ultimately have to move this around downtown because hopefully at some point, these storefronts will no longer be available,” Newman said. “We are also simultaneously giving retailers an opportunity to test drive a downtown storefront.”
Throughout the holiday season until Dec. 23, the pop-up shops will be open Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.
The shops’ opening marked the kickoff of Small Business Saturday events in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
More than 20 businesses downtown and more than 70 businesses throughout the Wilkes-Barre area offered deals, discounts and special promotions on the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, a day that American Express came up with in 2010 to encourage people to shop small and at local businesses.
Among the other activities held on Small Business Saturday, the F.M. Kirby Center hosted a holiday arts market featuring crafts made by local artists. Other activities at the Kirby Center included an ornament making station, a coloring table, holiday story time, a Christmas carol sing-a-long, a tree-lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa and the showing of the classic holiday film “Miracle on 34th Street.”
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