Business Owner: Shop small in Northeast Pennsylvania

It’s called “Cabin Fever Frenzy” and aims to encourage people to shop small in February, which is usually a slow time of year for small businesses.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — When Mary Beck and her husband opened the Central Station Marketplace antique store in Scranton five years ago, she had two big goals: to connect with other small business owners in the area and survive the three-year lease on the building she bought.

She’s achieved both, thanks in large part to a shopping challenge she dreamed up called Cabin Fever Frenzy.

“The holidays are over and everyone’s burned, so Cabin Fever is getting everyone out of the house and we’re getting them ready for spring,” Beck said.

Here’s how it works: Get a card from one of the 20 participating businesses in Northeast Pennsylvania. Spend at least $10 in any of the stores to get a stamp. Six stamps will enter you into a prize draw for three $200 gift cards to use at any of the stores.

“It’s a lot of fun when people come across the parking lot with their little map,” Beck said.

The idea is to encourage people to shop small in what is usually a slower time of year.

“February is a difficult time of year for small businesses. Everyone hides and hibernates. The holidays are over, and that gets her out there. Everyone loves a good treasure hunt and three chances to win a $200 ticket at the end is pretty awesome,” said Gretchen Senerchia, who works at Melbens Murkantile in Nicholson.

“In the last three years, many new customers have been added as a result. We and all vendors have really benefited from this,” said Maren Visavati, owner of Sunny Treasures Vendor Collections in Tunkhannock.

Companies from Scranton to Towanda participate.

“It attracts people from all walks of life. I’m at the top of Wyoming County, so it brings people from Scranton and it brings people from Wyoming County here. And we don’t compete; we’re just trying to help each other,” said Russell Hodgson, owner of Simple Treasures Antiques & Gifts in Meshoppen.

“People find it interesting to find new places with different choices. You’re going to find something unique in each of those places,” said Nikki Stone, sales clerk at Sunny Treasures. “And while you’re doing that, you’re supporting independent people who are just trying to do something fun and make a living.”

You have until February 28th to get your stamps. The draw will take place on March 5th. For updates, visit the group’s Facebook page here.

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