WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many small businesses are still struggling to recover from financial losses caused by the pandemic.

But Thursday night, support for small businesses could be seen and heard throughout downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Live music performed by the high-energy rock band ‘Stealing Neil’ energized a large crowd in Wilkes-Barre’s Midtown Village.

It’s the kickoff to the season-long community concert series called ‘Sunsets on South Main.’

“We did them last year and they were a huge hit. We didn’t know how they would go, but when we give people something to do, in the downtown, they come,” said Susan Magnotta, Director of Marketing & Development, Diamond City Partnership.

The outdoor celebration centered around summer fun features pop-up vendors and the Susquehanna Brewing Company.

It’s free to attend, but the Diamond City Partnership encourages guests to patronize downtown restaurants and shops.

“Supporting the local, small businesses after the pandemic is imperative. The ones that made it through, really need your support,” said Bob Borwick, Vice-Chair, Diamond City Partnership.

“Me and my sweetheart, we were just discussing that while we’re walking down the street, businesses are closing left and right. So, anything will benefit,” said Ron Sadowski, Kingston.

The extra foot traffic is a welcoming sight for the Bee Hive Gift Shop.

“It brings people downtown that aren’t there. There are still a lot of people working from home and everything so this brings them out. They wander around, they might never have been in the store,” said Joanne Zarick, Owner, Bee Hive Gift Shop.

Zarick says the boost keeps her small business alive.

“If we didn’t have Diamond City Partnership and City of Wilkes-Barre helping us, we just wouldn’t be able to survive,” said Zarick.

Sunsets on South Main will be held on the third Thursday of each month in Midtown Village from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Upcoming dates are June 16, July 21, August 18, and September 15. 

This year, ‘SOMA’ will continue through the fall indoors at the Circle Center for the Arts on October 20 and November 18.