WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Retailers are eager to ramp up business as pandemic-related restrictions ease.
Stores that have been closed for several weeks in red phase counties are finally re-opening after transitioning to yellow. Luzerne County joined Schuylkill, Monroe and Pike in our region to transition Friday to yellow phase.
In downtown Wilkes-Barre, a landmark business is considered the linchpin to Center City’s comeback success. Walking in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Marcia Amos looked to buy a new watch since her old one broke.
“And I thought this would be the first place I would come to replace it,” Amos said.
It turns out she was a day early since Boscov’s remained closed to get the store ready to welcome its first walk-in customers this weekend since mid-March. Boscov’s is more than an institution in the Wyoming Valley. It’s considered the downtown’s retail anchor.
“We’ve got more then a third of downtown workers who in our most recent survey before the pandemic said that they were regularly shopping at Boscov’s,” Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said.
Good he says not only for Boscov‘s bottom line, but also for other center city merchants.
“Boscov’s helps to draw traffic. That then patronizes other businesses,” Newman said.
Businesses like Musical Energi right across South Main Street.
”Glad to be back. Glad to be back,” owner Jay Motartomaso said.
Getting a one day jump on Boscov’s, the owner of this music and DVD store is eager to see the spillover in foot traffic from his much larger business neighbor.
“It’s going to be good to have Boscov’s open and all of the shops downtown and it’s too bad the restaurants can’t open yet,” Motartomaso said.
While restaurants won’t be permitted to welcome dine-in customers until the governor’s green phase, the reopening of Boscov‘s in the Diamond City is now just hours away.
“Downtown, I think, would take a hit if Boscov’s ever left. So, yeah, they are a big contributor to the city,” Amos said.
That reopening is now less than 17 hours away. This Boscov’s is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.