“Part of the reason I love being here is because of the community.”
A trip to Wilkes-Barre always felt like an incredible journey when Barbara Maculloch was growing up. As a child, she could hardly fathom how her father found the way from their hometown of Tunkhannock to the bustling downtown shops, where The Boston Store had seemed as glamorous as Manhattan’s own Macy’s. She didn’t know it back then, but her path to professional success would lead right back to Wilkes-Barre.
Maculloch started as a bank teller while she was a student at Misericordia, attending classes during the nights and weekends. She worked her way through the ranks by doing almost every job at the bank, from teller to CSR to head teller to manager. She continued on to run the private banking group at PNC, and later M&T Bank. In 2011, she joined Community Bank to work in wealth management. She is currently the President of Pennsylvania Banking, covering Community Bank’s branches from Towanda all the way to Lehighton.
Beyond her work at the bank, Maculloch devotes countless hours to serving the community. Her passion for event planning and design gives her the chance to tap into her creative side. She is currently chairing three community events: a March Madness event to benefit the Wyoming Valley CYC, a Kentucky Derby event to benefit the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA and the annual gala at Misericordia.
Maculloch lives in Wyoming with her husband, George; her daughter, Rachel and their Bernedoodle puppy, Ruby Sue. We sat down to talk about her incredible career and her love for the community. And we had to ask the essential question: Why NEPA?
How long have you lived in NEPA?
My whole life.
What do you love about your town?
I like it because there are mountains there, and it reminds me of Tunkhannock. I really love that. We’re in a development, but there’s only 12 of us, so I like that too. I’m used to having space. I can’t even imagine living somewhere else. It’s close to Wilkes-Barre, and it’s just the perfect spot for us. You can go the back way to go to Tunkhannock. Since I still have family there, I like that too.
What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?
The Westmoreland Club. I like it because every attention to detail is not forgotten—everything. I’m on the board there too. The executive director of the club is Robert Williams, and he’s outstanding. He started as the chef for Governor Casey when he first started in his career. Now he’s been there for 25-plus years. He’s the reason that it’s as good as it is.
There are other places I really do like. I like Rikasa a lot in Pittston. When I think about places that we pick up from, Hops & Barleys is one of them. They have the best chicken wing sandwich you’ll ever have. It’s grilled chicken, and it’s so good. And I love AmberDonia. We go there every Friday. I love their pizza and their caprese salad. Nobody is as good as theirs, I don’t think. For my favorite casual place, it’s definitely AmberDonia. If I’m going to eat pizza, that’s where I get it from.
What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?
I have to tell you, I work so much that my favorite place to go is home. I love being at home. I love design, so I love working on my house and doing things like that. If we go out, my favorite thing to do is go out to a restaurant. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, there’s always a restaurant to choose from.
Also, I love the shopping around here too. I love the little shops like Shooze and Showroom56. I like to patronize local people as much as I can because I want them to stay in business. I just love it when I see a new, exciting business coming.
What’s next for you?
Our new building is going up by the arena. That’s the next exciting thing for me. We’re going to call that our Pennsylvania flagship. Our branches go from Towanda to Lehighton. I’m responsible for that territory. I looked at 28 properties, including tons of them in the downtown, but none of them had room. We want a three-car drive-through. We want two ATMs. We want to put all of our outlying departments in there. But there just wasn’t room. Now, we’ll be going there, and I can’t wait. We’re scheduled to go in by the end of August.
Personally, I have favorite places that we like to go, Martha’s Vineyard being right at the top of my list. We try to go every summer for a week. Edgartown is my favorite. That’s my happy place. So we’ll be going there this summer. Another favorite is Disney. My husband has two grandchildren that live in Minneapolis, so we’re meeting them in November to go to Disney. We’ll be looking forward to those two.
Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?
What I would love to see is more youth stay here and really make the most of what we’ve got. I love, love, love mentoring kids. That’s my favorite thing because I remember growing up through my old banking career who mentored me and who was not nice to me. Those are the two that you remember the most.
What my hope would be is that more youth would be attracted here. That’s why DiscoverNEPA is so important, so they see that. There are a lot of things that I think, “I’ve been here forever and didn’t know about this.” Like when you go up to the tulip farm in Tunkhannock—it’s those little things that I think I appreciate so much. People think they have to go to a city. Believe me, I love where we’re located because if you do want to go to a city, it’s not far. But I think we have so much to appreciate.
I would say, why not? Why wouldn’t you, knowing that there is so much to do and knowing that the area itself is so beautiful? It’s the appreciation of what we have here, and that it’s small enough that everyone knows each other. Part of the reason I love being here is because of the community. You can be as engaged in the community as you want to, or you don’t have to. But when you are, I’ve made so many lasting friendships from that.