Wilkes-Barre preps to celebrate ‘Small Business Saturday’

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thanksgiving weekend marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. While much of the shopping will be done online, a lot of it will happen in person.

“Most people are just looking to start their Christmas shopping so I did a lot of holiday stuff this year,” says Nikki Stapleton.

Knotty Nikki’s Pearl Jewelry and Custom Designs owner Nikki Stapleton is one of more than a dozen vendors participating Saturday in a pop-up, open-air holiday market in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The payoff for her is more than just one day of jewelry sales.

“I’m mainly online so this is one of my big events that I do in person. So it is a great way for me to kind of get my name out there, get some of my designs out there, let people see who I am, what I’m all about,” said Stapleton.

Last year, the open-air Holiday Market took over Public Square but this year the venue moves about a half-block away to Wilkes-Barre’s Midtown Village Courtyard.

Some vendors will sell their wares from sheds. Others will set up shop in a tent at the front of the courtyard on South Main Street. All hope to profit after a difficult time.

“The pandemic has forced us all to become experts in experimentation and this is an example of that,” said Executive Director of Diamond City Partnership, Larry Newman.

The pop-up vendors aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the open-air holiday market. So will brick and mortar stores.

Inside the Bee Hive Gift Shop, the owner is eager to welcome customers.

“This year is definitely, it’s needed,” said JoAnne Zarick, Owner, Bee Hive Gift Shop.

After overcoming pandemic struggles like fewer customers and more supply chain issues, she’s looking for a bump in business.

“And that’s what you need is foot traffic you know because once you come in we’re a one-stop-shop. We have pretty much everything,” said Zarick.

Some of that foot traffic will be generated by live entertainment including performances from The Nutcracker.

“We always like to participate in stuff that’s going on in downtown Wilkes-Barre. And the kids love to perform live ’cause we’ve been cooped up for a while,” said Gina Malsky, Director of Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre.

A chance for shoppers to get uncooped and get in the holiday spirit.

The Holiday Market in downtown Wilkes-Barre runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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