NEPA Scene Staff

Small businesses can ‘test drive’ retail locations for Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Market, opening Nov. 28

Small businesses can ‘test drive’ retail locations for Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Market, opening Nov. 28
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From a press release:

Applications are now open for small businesses interested in test driving a retail location as part of downtown Wilkes-Barre’s 2020 Holiday Pop-Up Market, which will open on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28.

Since 2018, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Market has provided local independent retailers, whether they are established or just starting up, with a low-cost opportunity to open a physical presence in downtown Wilkes-Barre. This year, a special focus is on retailers that may have lost a location or need additional assistance in reaching customers as a result of COVID-19. Applications have just been opened to local business owners to apply to participate and are due on Monday, Nov. 2.

The Downtown Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Market is an initiative of the Diamond City Partnership and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. The program is presented by PPL, and new pop-up structures have been funded with Luzerne County CARES Act funding. This year, the city of Wilkes-Barre will be hosting the Holiday Pop-Up Market on Public Square.

Vendors can be retailers of gifts, home goods and decor, apparel and accessories, specialty foods, books, sporting goods, pet supplies, boutique items, art items, locally made goods, toys, and more. Ideal applicants are individuals currently operating a home-based business, businesses wishing to open a second location, or business concepts with minimal startup inventory.

Selected applicants will become tenants in the temporary Pop-Up Holiday Market, located on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre, for a 16-day period during the peak holiday shopping season. The new shop structures, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and constructed by Panzitta Enterprises, are portable units that can be grouped together in a variety of ways.

The holidays are a critical time for retailers to promote and sell their goods, and this year, it’s more important than ever. The goal of the 2020 pop-up shops is to help provide local retailers with another way to reach customers in a safe, open-air setting as part of a coronavirus recovery strategy, to drive holiday shopping traffic into downtown Wilkes-Barre, and to assist in elevating downtown’s retail tenant and merchandise mix over time.

“2020 has been an extremely challenging year for our community’s small retailers,” said Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman.

“Many have seen sales levels cut in half from prior years. As a result, we’ve changed the traditional format of the downtown Wilkes-Barre pop-up shops. Shifting to an outdoor ‘holiday market’ on Public Square allows us to create a festive open-air marketplace, giving small businesses a new way to reach customers during this difficult time while generating much-needed activity in downtown during the 2020 holiday shopping season.”

The pop-up shops will kick off with a grand opening celebration at 11 a.m. on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28 and will run through Saturday, Dec. 19.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Holiday Pop-Up Market schedule

Saturday, Nov. 28: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 29: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Monday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 4: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 5: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 6: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Monday-Friday, Dec. 7-Dec. 11: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 12: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19: Special Gift Grabber Pop-Up Day, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

“The vision and mission of the Holiday Pop-Up Market initiative that developed three years ago has evolved to become more relevant and more needed than ever before. This year, the Pop-Up Market has become a critical small business initiative that will allow retailers the chance to safely do business during the holiday season and will additionally showcase our downtown and promote its existing businesses. We are thankful for the CARES Act funding provided by Luzerne County, and our partnership with PPL Electric Utilities, that has made this year’s project possible,” said Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce COO Lindsay Griffin.

“We are excited to continue to partner with all of Luzerne County’s Chambers of Commerce and Main Street organizations to continue to grow this program in 2021, with multiple locations throughout Luzerne County.”

For more information on the program and to obtain a copy of the requirements and application, contact or visit

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene