Barnes & Noble on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre finishes final chapter

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The location closed its doors Friday after 15 years

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Some are calling it the end of an era. Barnes & Noble book store in downtown Wilkes-Barre closed its doors for the last time Friday.

Folks who have come here are sad to see it go. Efforts now underway to find a new tenant for the building.

Many people who came to Barnes & Noble on Public Square were not happy when they read the sign that Friday July 23rd would be the last day for the bookstore.

Santo Lafoca came here often.

“I knew they drew a lot of people there almost daily and I’m going to miss it very much,” Lafoca said.

Lafoca says the folks who came here were like family. The bookstore was run by Wilkes University, King’s College and Barnes & Noble. The store also sold merchandise from both schools. Both schools decided this year to move on and to operate their own book stores on campus.

Larry Newman is executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, a downtown business development group.

“We are going to work with the landlord with the downtown community to identify or help to identify what kind of appropriate use we will be for that space,” Newman said.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown believes the building won’t be vacant for very long.

“Naturally we don’t like to see any business close downtown or in any other part of the city. But the city is coming back. I keep saying that there’s always interest where businesses or other people expanding or bringing business from outside the area. I’m optimistic,” Mayor Brown said.

83-year-old John Puchniak would like to see another bookstore open here.

“With Tudor Bookshop gone, B-Dalton Books gone, Willow Green Bookstore gone, Mike’s Library gone, Book and Recordmart gone, it’s a pity for the Wyoming Valley. It is,” Puchniak said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Barnes & Noble for comment on the closing. We have not yet received a response.

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