Shopping ‘small’ in the Diamond City


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic dealt a major blow to small businesses. As many continue to recover from financial losses and this holiday season, the call to “shop small” is louder than ever.

Holiday shopping is in full swing. Dozens of people shopped ’till they dropped on Small Business Saturday in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

“I think that there’s a lot of businesses that are hurting and big box stores don’t need any more of our money. So, if there’s a choice for me, I always go small,” said Cindy Malkemes.

Local vendors set up shop in Midtown Village for the open-air holiday market, displaying their most gift-worthy items.

“We rely on events like this to keep us going. I personally don’t have a storefront, and so if it’s not for events like this, I’m out of business,” explained Lissa Panagakos, owner of ‘The Soap Chef’.

The market was limited last year due to the pandemic. But this year, the Diamond City bustled with excitement.

Photo opportunities with Santa, live performances by “South Side Five Music”, and just down the block, a live nativity scene on Public Square. With so much to see and do, it certainly drew a crowd just as organizers and merchants had hoped.

“It’s been non-stop all day long and so many people. Seeing old customers, new customers, it’s been really refreshing,” stated Nikki Stapleton, owner of the Knotty Nikki.

Brick and mortar stores in town also received a much-needed boost in business.

“The end of the year really is what keeps us afloat,” said Joanne Zarick, owner of the Bee Hive
Gift Shop.

This owner of Bee Hive Gift Shop was thrilled to see so much foot traffic in her store, as the city-led initiative encourages all to shop “small.”

“The city of Wilkes-Barre has been so helpful. They stop in to make sure we’re doing okay, and they try to do as much as they could. They did concerts in the summer and now they’re doing this for the winter. They have been so supportive, I don’t know what I would do without them,” explained Zarick.

If you’re going Christmas shopping this weekend, consider supporting a small business in your community.

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