Our 2020 Pride of Place Pivot Award recipients have amazing stories to tell about how they have each adapted their day to day life, physical work environments, and services to create safe spaces, stay connected to our community, and elevate our region during these challenging times. This year's award recipients are The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre, The Canning House Restaurant & Grocer Collective, Coal Creative, Misericordia University, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, and Times Leader Media Group. Read more about each organization's efforts below!
Meet Our 2020 Pride of Place Pivot Award Recipients
Our 2020 Pride of Place Pivot Award recipients have amazing stories to tell about how they have each adapted their day to day life, physical work environments, and services to create safe spaces, stay connected to our community, and elevate our region during these challenging times. This year's award recipients are The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre, The Canning House Restaurant & Grocer Collective, Coal Creative, Misericordia University, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, and the Times Leader Media Group.
The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre
The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre stayed focused on helping businesses grow and succeed during the pandemic. They were one of the first businesses to take the Luzerne County Ready Pledge to protect the health, safety, and well-being of their employees and customers. Being Luzerne County Ready means that all federal, state, and local public health guidelines are being followed at their facility. The Accelerator wanted the building to be open and a safe place for business if people wanted to come in, so this was a priority for them.
During the pandemic, they also partnered with Coal Creative to launch Studio 16 South - a state of the art content production studio allowing anyone that would like to create a podcast or to stream video to do so in a state of the art facility. With safety at the forefront, they celebrated their launch virtually in June 2020 with a live streamed press announcement on their social media channels.
The Accelerator Wilkes-Barre is continuously pivoting during this time to continue to support the local businesses and entrepreneurs in our community, and have even more projects underway that will be announced soon!
The Canning House and the Grocer Collective
During the pandemic, The Canning House pivoted their entire business quickly to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. The Canning House, recognizing the community need, began to offer grocery items to the public as a part of their takeout and delivery platform. When a family was ordering dinner, they could also order a butcher box including poultry, red meat, vegetables, and potatoes, enough to feed a family of four several meals. This quickly became a major part of their business, and shifted into a sister company launched in April called Grocer Collective. Grocer Collective is a locally sourced ecommerce website where customers can purchase directly from local farmers having their food delivered within two days. This initiative helped bridge the gap between food vendors who had lost a significant amount of business to struggling restaurants and consumers who could not get their hands on quality meat and produce. Since that time, Grocer Collective has expanded its brand partnerships to include national brands. They offered Grocer Collective items both digitally online, and through a small dedicated space in the 900 Rutter Building. They also included a farmer’s market during the warmer months so that those who wished to could walk up, purchase, and not have to enter any indoor space or have any delivery wait time. Through The Canning House, they also opened a new sculpture garden for outdoor dining, "pop-up" delivery nights for out of range areas, established more local partnerships with other businesses, and also joined forces with The Keystone Mission, providing more than 500 pounds of food and supplies, a $10,000 value.
Coal Creative pivoted all of their operations during the pandemic to ensure their employees’ safety is number one. They have recently transitioned into having a hybrid model of operations which includes a combination of working from home and safely collaborating within their office space. Their desks are arranged in an open concept, socially distanced manner which allows them to collaborate freely as they have done in the past, yet still maintain their safety. In addition to the internal adjustments, they have pivoted their services to offer “virtual event” production and promotion as a service to the organizations and businesses in the community. This new service has specifically supported our area's non-profit organizations, ensuring that they can still hold the fundraiser events that are critical to their day-to-day operations.
In addition, Coal Creative has partnered with Ionic Development based in Scranton, PA to bring on-location and hybrid live streamed events to life - another millennial-based company trying to elevate NEPA. Coal Creative has also recently partnered with Kris Jones to start Studio 16 South to begin offering services to help businesses and individuals get their messaging out digitally, especially during this time. Their CEO, Holly Pilcavage has partnered up with Helen Lavelle to create “Boost Business NEPA,” which is a community of various industries that have come together to help businesses in need that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April of 2020, the Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center finished its construction on the Misericordia University Campus, the largest academic building on campus. Once the final renovations are complete, the center will boast 77,000 square feet of space, with advanced technology and infrastructure for superior teaching, learning, and research. This building may just be the place where the next generation of leaders in STEM can start their careers, which is so important during times like these. Additionally, the team at Misericordia worked quickly to respond and implement safety procedures on campus, and utilize the technology needed to keep their students engaged and safe during the pandemic, including hybrid learning, socially-distanced classrooms, daily health checks through a mobile app, mandatory mask wearing, in-house contact tracing and on-campus rapid-testing for suspected cases.
Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
As one of the first entities to be shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, entertainment venues have had to find alternative and creative ways to provide content while reshaping the footprint in which they conduct business. Almost all of the events scheduled to take place inside Mohegan Sun Arena from mid-March until the present have been postponed or cancelled. With their traditional space no longer an option, they turned their attention to providing content to their fans digitally and by repurposing their parking lot into a new multipurpose venue space. They partnered with Karl Hall to produce an online concert series entitled NEPA Live from Home, featuring artists with roots in our area to provide free, online concerts each week direct from the artists’ homes.
As the weather began to improve, their focus turned towards transforming their parking lot into a unique performance space. In late April, the PA Department of Health began utilizing their parking lot as a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. Over the following 40 days, more than 2,000 PA residents were tested for coronavirus in their parking lot, saving many lives and keeping our community safe. In June, the venue announced plans to produce its first all-outdoor Drive-In style concert series, entitled NEPA Live from The Lot. Fans were able to enjoy entertainment from the comfort of their car, or get out of their vehicle and dance the night away in their very own socially-distant party pod. This series featured 6 different performers from June to September. Additionally, the Mohegan lot was used to host a socially-distant job fair, and their indoor space was used for small-scale community trainings to support our community during this time.
Times Leader Media Group
The Times Leader Media Group has continued to report the news every day, to provide local, regional, state, national, and international stories day after day to keep readers informed. Not only has the Times Leader provided the normal range of news coverage it always has in its 113 years, it has responded to the pandemic by providing vital information about every aspect of coping with the coronavirus to ensure that the public is aware of everything necessary to survive and grow. As the Times Leader has continuously pivoted in its delivery of news to the public, it realizes the importance of providing this service to each and every reader as they experience their individual pivotal events of their lives. During the pandemic, the Times Leader shifted their entire workforce to remote work, and transitioned from a seven-day print product to publishing three of their days as an enhanced digital e-edition so that readers still have access to a fully paginated and designed newspaper, but online rather than in print.
Make sure to join us for our Chamber Annual Dinner on November 19th at 4 PM LIVE on Facebook and YouTube to celebrate all our honorees that night! Click here to register today!