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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2007:09:06 10:42:42

Collins

by Leslie Collins

Every city, every community and every neighborhood has a unique story. In Scranton, particularly in its downtown, the evolution is exciting to watch. It’s even more invigorating to be part of an organization serving as a catalyst for positive change in the region, and that’s where Scranton Tomorrow fits into the story.

For more than 25 years, Scranton Tomorrow has been dedicated to fulfilling this important role in the greater Scranton community. A nonprofit, non-partisan organization, Scranton Tomorrow was born from a grass-roots effort in the early 1990s to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Scranton. Through community partnerships and support from business leaders, property owners and volunteers, the organization has progressed and grown along with the city it serves.

Today, its mission is refined to include a focus on economic development, establishing Scranton as the premier urban center of northeast Pennsylvania.

Through this new monthly column, readers will have the opportunity to learn more about a diverse list of projects and initiatives shaping the future of the region – from economic development programs, to beautification efforts, downtown living and walkability, seasonal promotions, exciting new events and more.

As part of this year’s holiday promotions, Scranton Tomorrow launched Deck the Downtown, an integrated marketing campaign encouraging people to shop and dine in the downtown. The program launched on social media in November with a “Give Thanks” video series featuring local business owners. (For those who missed it, videos are posted on Scranton Tomorrow’s Instagram and Facebook pages).

Local business owners opened their hearts by sharing video messages of gratitude before opening their doors for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and the dining specials highlighted in Flurry of Feasts. Scranton Tomorrow spearheaded Scranton’s first Small Business Saturday, a nationwide program created by American Express, in 2011. Since then, it has continued to grow in popularity, creating an opportunity for Scranton Tomorrow to develop a comprehensive holiday campaign that includes promotions before and after Small Business Saturday. More than 50 businesses participated in multiple holiday promotions this year, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.

Deck the Downtown continues through December with the 25 Days of Downtown, and the annual Holiday Window Decorating Showcase. A social media campaign featuring the latest holiday specials in the Downtown Scranton Business District, 25 Days of Downtown counts down to Christmas on Scranton Tomorrow’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

While 25 Days of Downtown is a new promotion, the Holiday Window Decorating Showcase has grown into a seasonal tradition. Dozens of businesses decorated their storefronts with winter scenes and festive lights, highlighting the downtown business district’s intrinsic charm. The Holiday Window Decorating Showcase will be on display through Jan. 3. Download a map at scrantontomorrow.org, and take in the picturesque scenes of holiday cheer while dining, shopping and celebrating in downtown Scranton.

Thanks to all the business and community partners who have come together to make this holiday season extra special in downtown Scranton, and to those who support shop local initiatives. It’s encouraging to see increased participation in Small Business Saturday and holiday promotions, which are prime examples of the positive changes that Scranton has embraced in the past few years.

Happy holidays!

Leslie Collins is the executive director of Scranton Tomorrow, a non-partisan, non-profit economic development organization in Scranton. Reach her via email at leslie@scrantontomorrow.org. To learn more about Scranton Tomorrow, visitscrantontomorrow.org.