“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” This famous Albert Einstein quote still rings true today. The Downtown Scranton Business District is a prime example.

As Pennsylvania undergoes phased reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic, local business owners are embracing new ways of conducting business, identifying those new opportunities hidden within a difficult spring. The result will be a summer to remember. Restaurateurs are designing unique outdoor dining experiences. Retailers are providing personalized shopping experiences, and stylists are reshaping and enhancing the salon experience.

In this spirit, Scranton Tomorrow is pleased to launch the Summer in Scranton promotion for the downtown Scranton business district. Designed to encourage everyone to shop local, this promotion features:

• Independents “Indie” Week: Through July 7, enjoy special downtown Scranton promotions celebrating the spirit of local entrepreneurs and the small businesses that make our city so unique.

• Style Mag Daily video series: Through a partnership with Style Mag Daily, a fashion blog, local businesses will offer exclusive promotions on Style Mag Daily’s Instagram Live! Look for details at www.scrantontomorrow.org.

• Christmas in July: Halfway to the holidays, Christmas in July will feature summer promotions for those who want to jump start their holiday shopping.

Now, more than ever, partnerships play a vital role to bolster support to the local economy. As we phase into reopening, Scranton Tomorrow has negotiated special rates with local personal protective equipment suppliers for the city’s business community. Masks, face shields, disinfectants, hand sanitizer and no-contact thermometers are among the featured products. Details on how business owners can purchase discounted PPE supplies are posted on the new COVID-19 Business Resource page on Scranton Tomorrow’s website at https://www.scrantontomorrow.org/businessresources. The PPE supplier links, and the resources throughout the page, are designed to save business owners time and money. Business owners are encouraged to bookmark the page and visit it often as continuous updates are made as information becomes available.

In addition, the city of Scranton in partnership with Scranton Tomorrow, created the Safe Scranton Pledge. Business owners who take the pledge receive a decal to post on their front doors or windows to signify their commitment to customer and employee safety. To take the pledge, visit the ScrantonWORKS website at https://www.scrantonworks.org/reopening.

Partnerships also extend into our Safe, Clean & Green Ambassador program. With a comprehensive five-year plan underway, Scranton Tomorrow has formed new partnerships with Lackawanna County 4-H and the Penn State Extension watershed program. The ambassadors are doing their part to enhance curb appeal during this important phase of reopening, adapting operations as needed to comply with health and safety regulations during the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020, ambassadors:

• Responded to nearly 100 inquiries from community members regarding parking, directions and amenities in the downtown.

• Collected 108 bags of litter weighing more than two tons from downtown streets and sidewalks.

• Swept 163 blocks and cleaned 65 light posts.

• Reported 32 maintenance issues to proper authorities, including broken traffic signs, vandalism, graffiti and blight.

• Cleaned and prepared 135 sidewalk planters and installed 31 new sidewalk planters.

• Planted 8,400 spring annuals, and 1,500 summer flowers.

For updates on Scranton businesses, be sure to follow Scranton Tomorrow on Facebook, and visit our website at www.scrantontomorrow.org.

Leslie Collins is the Executive Director of Scranton Tomorrow, a community nonprofit group.

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