Diamond City Partnership Holiday Market spotlights local businesses


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, PA - While big box stores took center stage during Black Friday shopping, small businesses had their moment in the spotlight the following day for Small Business Saturday.

Across the Greater Wyoming Valley, over 50 local businesses offered deals and discounts throughout the day to celebrate the occasion, and a select few took to Midtown Village to showcase their offerings for the Diamond City Partnership’s Holiday Market.

Complete with caroling, hot chocolate and photos with Santa Clause, the market featured 25 local artisan craft vendors promising holiday gifts ranging from homemade candles to gourmet popcorn.

Shoppers had the chance to support small business owners like Jaci Kazoun, who owns Resilient Sunflower Boutique, which specializes in homemade stickers, buttons and nightlights — all designed and handmade by Kazoun.

“It’s really important to shop small, especially for someone like myself. I’m a single mom and this is a way for me to make a little extra money for my family,” Kazoun said.

“We all put so much work into what we do, so it adds a little something extra to what you’re buying and I think when you shop small, you’re able to get the instant gratification of helping somebody out,” she added.

Christopher Beaumont, owner of BeauBerry Freeze Dried Confections, echoed Kazoun’s sentiments, noting that, for some small business owners, their business is a full-time job.

“Shopping small is about supporting people, not corporations,” Beaumont said.

“I think people think that everybody works by trading their time for money, but so many people have their own business and they’re really struggling right now, so it’s great to come out and support the people who are working for themselves,” he added.

Besides holiday shopping, at the heart of Saturday’s event was an emphasis on community, which Matt Micciche says is really what small businesses are all about.

“Shopping small is getting out, knowing your neighbors, knowing the storefronts and actually meeting the owners of the businesses that you’re shopping at,” said Micciche, who attended the market with Designs by Olivia Gray, which boasts the area’s largest all-natural soy candle, wax melt and diffuser selection.

According to Micciche, most of the items folks shop for online and at larger retail stores can also be found locally produced.

“We’re all about supporting one another and trying to get people to come back out and stop the online shopping,” Micciche said.

Bringing the human element back to shopping

As folks streamed in and out of the vendor tents and inside the surrounding small businesses, Diamond City Partnership Marketing and Events Coordinator Shelby Monk looked on at the crowd while holding back tears.

“I’m absolutely blown away by the turnout,” Monk said.

According to her, the event was put on not only to highlight and support local businesses, but also to support the businesses that surround Midtown Village, namely Boozy B’s and the Bee Hive Gift Shop.

“You can’t even move inside the Bee Hive Gift Shop right now — that’s how packed it is,” Monk said.

“Bringing this attention to these businesses that maybe people didn’t even know existed is why we’re doing what we’re doing and it’s working today,” she added.

According to Monk, shopping small offers the chance of connection that just can’t be replicated at larger retail stores.

“When you shop big stores, it takes the human element out of it. These business owners here are conversing with people and really getting to show off what they do, and they truly put so much effort and time into their craft and you don’t get that when you shop big box stores,” she said.