Businesses Destroyed By Tornado Find New Life
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — There’s new life for some businesses destroyed by the June 13 tornado in Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Tovon & Co. Diamonds, formerly located in a now-condemned strip mall in Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons, will open a new location at 47 Memorial Highway, Dallas, said owner and president Tommy Van Scoy Jr.
The jeweler started in the Dallas Shopping Center in 1992 and moved to Wilkes-Barre Twp. in 2004, he said.
A Facebook post announcing Tovon & Co.’s move said, “We are going back to where it all began and we can’t wait to come back better than ever.”
“It’s been a long journey since the tornado destroyed our last location but our customers have been wonderful and have been showing such support for us,” the post said. “We can’t wait until we are fully up and running to take care of our many loyal customers!”
Van Scoy expects the Dallas location to be open by October but he said people can come in to have their rings cleaned and checked in the meantime and look at engagement and wedding rings by appointment by calling 570-970-2700.
“We have a lot of customers who are from Dallas,” he said. “It only takes 12 to 15 minutes longer to get here from areas like Mountain Top and Hazleton and it’s a shorter distance for customers in Dallas, Harveys Lake and the Sweet Valley.”
Tovon & Co. employs four people including Van Scoy and all will be back to work at the new location, he said.
Ashley Furniture, which also was destroyed by the tornado, signed a 10-year lease with Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) to open in about 50,000 square feet of space behind the Wyoming Valley Mall that formerly housed H.H. Gregg before it closed and other vacant stores, said franchise owner Jim Everett.
Ashley Furniture owns the property on Mundy Street where it was formerly located. Everett said another commercial property may open on Mundy Street in the future and he expects the new store behind the mall will open by October.
“I don’t want to leave the Wilkes-Barre area,” Everett said.
A tent sale has been going on in front of the debris left at Ashley Furniture’s former site on Mundy Street. The sale has been popular and this likely will be the last weekend that tent sale will be held, Everett said.
The sale will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and if there is anything left, it will continue Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., he said.
He also expects everything left from Ashley Furniture’s former location should be cleaned up by the end of next week.
He said he considered relocating Ashley Furniture to the site of the closed Babies R Us in Wilkes-Barre Twp. but that was only about 30,000 square feet and he said about 50,000 square feet of space was needed.
Everett said he likes that there will be visibility of the new location behind the mall from Mundy Street in both directions.
Polish Pottery Pride, another business displaced as a result of the June 13 tornado, will open up in the space formerly occupied by Vitamin World at the Wyoming Valley Mall, said Amanda Hoprich, marketing director at the mall.
In all, the tornado caused at least $18 million in damage in the Wilkes-Barre Twp. Commons and Arena Hub Plaza, temporarily closing several businesses and permanently shuttering others.
Cleanup and recovery continues at most of those businesses, including Barnes & Noble in the Arena Hub.
Barnes & Noble recently announced it will open a temporary pop-up store in the closed Sears Outlet store in the East End Center in September and is continuing work in the Arena Hub to reopen as soon as possible.
Kurlancheek Home Furnishings, that was demolished on Mundy Street, has a temporary office and warehouse in the former Gateway Cinema in Edwardsville.
Contact the writer: