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Festive & Fun, Scranton is Ready to Deck the Downtown!
From magical window displays and special events to holiday sales, Downtown Scranton is filled with holiday spirit this time of year! We recently caught up with Liz Baldi, Business Development Director at Scranton Tomorrow, to discuss all things magical and merry in the Downtown Business District.
What is Deck the Downtown?
Deck the Downtown is Scranton Tomorrow’s holiday campaign that encourages everyone to shop and dine in the Downtown Scranton Business District during the holidays. We like to think of it as a supersized support local promotion with a holiday twist! Promotions are running now through January 5, and we’re looking forward to a full schedule during Thanksgiving week. Our 15th annual Holiday Window Showcase opens the night before Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday specials, Small Business Saturday, ’Tis the Season Sundays, Cyber Monday, and a Holiday Open House. These are just a few of the promotions planned. You can find all the details on our website.
What’s new about this year’s holiday campaign?
We have several exciting updates to this year’s program!
- Businesses participating in Deck the Downtown will display “Support Local” flags this year, so it will be easy to find holiday specials when you’re shopping and dining downtown.
- We’ve expanded our online Downtown Shopping and Dining Guides with the addition of a Downtown Gift Card Guide. Featuring retailers, restaurants, cafés, salons and spas, it’s your one-stop shop for digital gift cards from participating Downtown businesses.
- The Holiday Open House will be held a bit earlier this year – on Sunday, December 10. Traditionally, this event was held on the last Sunday before Christmas. There will be live music, hot cocoa, and holiday specials in businesses throughout the downtown. I don’t want to give too much away, but we may even have a surprise visitor from the North Pole in business district, too!
Scranton Tomorrow has been organizing Small Business Saturday in Downtown Scranton for 14 years. Can you talk about how this national movement has taken off locally?
Now more than ever, support local is in the forefront of people’s minds. There’s a much greater awareness that when you buy from local businesses, you find the most unique gifts, you have the benefit of a personalized shopping experience, and you can feel good about your purchase because it’s boosting the local economy. For every $1 that you spend in a locally-owned business, $.68 goes back into your community. That adds up, especially during the holidays. A great way to help our city grow is by supporting local businesses, and Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to do just that. Our local businesses have some great promotions planned!
Holiday shopping in a downtown is a different experience than any other kind of shopping. What is it about Downtown Scranton that makes it so magical during the holidays?
The business owners! They bring so much enthusiasm, and so much joy to the Downtown during the holiday season. They go above and beyond to create a personalized and festive experience for everyone who visits Downtown. The time and effort they put into decorating their storefronts really adds to an already beautiful streetscape during the holidays. Everything is so carefully crafted. They start working on their window designs months in advance to set the stage for a truly magical experience. There’s a charming, nostalgic feel to the business district this time of year. You can have so much fun window shopping, or just taking a drive to see the window displays lit up at night. It’s beautiful.
Speaking of displays, can you tell us more about the Holiday Window Showcase?
Yes! This is one of our favorite initiatives of Deck the Downtown. This year is extra special because it’s the 15th anniversary of the Holiday Window Showcase. Dozens of businesses compete for top honors in various categories, and they take this competition seriously! They get very creative with their designs, and they take a lot of pride in their community. The displays are unveiled the day before Thanksgiving, which coincides with the annual Times Tower Lighting from 4 to 6 p.m. at 149 Penn Avenue. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday weekend than with these two events in one night. You can find a list of locations for holiday windows on our website. Winners will be announced on Friday, December 1, at 6 p.m. at the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Lackawanna Winter Market on Courthouse Square. Be sure to stop by and enjoy the festivities!
It sounds like your office turns into Holiday Headquarters this time of year! That brings us to our next question. Now, be honest … has Santa ever called the Scranton Tomorrow team for a little extra backup when supplies are running low in his workshop?
Absolutely! Santa knows he can call or text us any time. In fact, last year I had the pleasure of escorting him through the business district and introducing him to all of our Downtown business owners. As he was checking off his “Naughty and Nice” list, we encouraged everyone to support local. He knows he can reach out to us any time if he needs a little extra help while visiting Scranton!
Scranton Tomorrow’s Deck the Downtown holiday campaign is presented by PNC Bank with additional support from generous community sponsors, including Maloney Law, P.C., Penn State Scranton, and Hospice of the Sacred Heart. To learn more, visit scrantontomorrow.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Featured Image (top): From left; Leslie Collins, president and CEO, Scranton Tomorrow, Peter Danchak, PNC regional president for Northeast PA, Mayor Paige G. Cognetti, City of Scranton, and Liz Baldi, business development director, Scranton Tomorrow. The group recently celebrated Mayor Cognetti’s official proclamation of November 25 as Small Business Saturday in Scranton. Small Business Saturday is part of Deck the Downtown, a project of Scranton Tomorrow presented by PNC Bank.