January 21st, 2021
Portraits of Impact: Pine Brook

We’re discovering the possibilities for the future alongside a few businesses and longtime Pine Brook advocates to examine what's next for this changing neighborhood. WRT worked with a photojournalist, Annie Grossinger, to document our conversations, and capture the story of Pine Brook through the images of those most invested in its future.

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WRT and the United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC) set out on a mission as part of our goal to capture the voices of the community in order to develop a revitalization plan for the Pine Brook Neighborhood. 

Admist a global pandemic, we knew engagement might be a challenge. After brainstorming, we called upon a  photojournalist, Annie Grossinger, to help tell the Pine Brook story through documenting our conversations, and capturing images of those most invested in its future -- the business owners and residents. The next generation of the Pine Brook neighborhood largely depends upon those who are here now, those who drive change and champion this evolution because their livelihoods depend on its success.

This is a personal story of investment, not only in themselves, but their families, their city, their business peers, and now, us. 

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Curating an authentic place

The existing business owners are integral to the revitalization strategy for it to be adopted by the United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC). We needed to hear their thoughts on what makes this place special, what makes their businesses work and how we can drive change for a more prosperous, inclusive, and workable district along the Pine Brook corridor.

Curating the right mix of businesses and activities to complement the existing creative and industrial fabric of Pine Brook will be vital to the continued success of the area to drive businesses and pedestrian traffic. 

National Bakery
a Scranton institution 

A lesson in integrity, honesty and taking care of your customers – doubling down with their deep investment in community. 

 

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Pop's Tires, the newcomer & transplant

Seeing the reality of a need, and teaching themselves the trade from watching youtube videos demonstrates the scrapy resilience required to start something, especially during a global pandemic. 

For Alfred, Shyrone and Shawn starting Pop’s tires wasn’t just about doing something positive, it was also about reinventing their lives for their kids --Sylee, Stephanie, and Nari  – who are helpers around the shop. They take pride in their business, always making an effort to take care of our area – keep it neat, show our neighbors love, take care of them and they take care of us. 

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“We are building something here – we have a purpose and we know that we are part of a community, part of something positive."  - Alfred, Owner

 

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Zoe interviewing the owner's of Pop's Tires
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Lackawanna Printing Company, a generational business district staple
 

The location is perfect for quick service to Downtown clients, but most clients never come to the shop – it is all delivery. So, it is really about proximity and access, more than the immediate surroundings of the shop. They deliver to most customers – UPS and direct delivery, everywhere from Pittston to Eynon.  
 

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owner, jeff, sits in front of his printing press 
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From commuting to NYC to laying roots in Scranton: Lettieri Auction House


For 8 years, John worked at New York City flea markets selling furniture he made out of reclaimed barnwood through a partnership with Lancaster Mennonites. At the time he was working out of south side warehouses. But after 9/11 the business changed.
 

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Antonio’s Pizza & Restaurant
A story of resilience told by a second generation pizza chef
 

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Antonio Fiorillo came over from Italy at age 19. Carmine (pictured) is Antonio’s son. Antonio had learned to make pizza in the Italian village where he grew up in. Their family used to live over on Albright Avenue and their father Antionio would travel all over for work. Eventually, he decided he wanted to work closer to home, and in 1983 he opened up the pizza shop.

When Antonio first opened up the shop, people gave him a hard time – broke the shop windows and didn't respect the newcomer to the area. Maybe his Italian heritage had something to do with it. Hard to know. "It isn’t really like that anymore but back then it mattered that he wasn’t from Scranton. But he was really determined and over time he became friends with people in the community – even with some of the people who had broken the windows. He was very forgiving and resilient," said Carmine.

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WRT team interviewing Meegan, founder of On&On

On&On
Repurposed, Handmade, and Vintage

 

On&On started out as a hobby of Meegan’s – she was testing out the concept of marketing a group of vendors that all focused on repurposed, handmade or vintage objects. Over time she built up a network of  vendors, and with her background in marketing and business development it began to feel like a natural next step. After three events,  she had proof of concept – there was interest and demand for a marketplace like this, and vendors were looking for a more permanent solution to they wanted a home beyond individual pop ups and flea markets. Enter On&On.
 

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