Downtown Wilkes-Barre Seeing Life with New Eateries Opening

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Two new eateries opened in downtown Wilkes-Barre this week. Froyo Mania and Ibop Coffee follow the openings of several other businesses in the area.

Froyo Mania, a yogurt shop, features frozen yogurt and allows customers to make their own creations by adding toppings. Partners Tina Truong, Adam Lowe, Tom Truong and Joanna Le are running the new business.

“I think it’s a great attraction,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, who attended a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. “It’s something I think we need, especially with the location of the theater here. I believe Wilkes University and King’s College students and the business community will strongly support this.”

Husband and wife Joshua and Soni Park, who live in East Stroudsburg but are originally from Korea, are running the Ibop Coffee Company. They want to stress to future customers that they carry quality products. Soni says that they studied coffee for three and a half years.

Ibop Coffee in downtown Wilkes-Barre

Park adds fresh ground coffee to a filter at Ibop Coffee Company at East Northampton and South Washington streets in Wilkes-Barre. The new business is operated by Soni and her husband, Joshua. Photo taken by Warren Ruda at The Citizens’ Voice.

They signed a lease with Nicholas Dye of D&D Realty Group in Scranton, who is working with brothers Casey and Adam Donahue on a $1.5 million privately funded project to turn the Hampton Park building into condominiums, office and retail space.

“From day one when I bought the building, I wanted a coffee house in this corner,” Dye said. “They have a great vision for what they want to do: bringing a high-end Manhattan-style coffee house into downtown Wilkes-Barre with a variety of different gourmet coffees.”

Dye says the coffee house will have a different style from the typical Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Ibop Coffee will sell coffees with different tastes and origins from around the world.

Thirteen loft apartments, starting at a sale price of $130,000, will be finished in the fall, Dye said. Some investors expressed an interest in renting out apartments, he said. Ninety percent of the commercial space in the building has been leased. Dr. Ronald Avenia, an ophthalmologist, will open an office in the building next week and a spa also is planned, he said.

Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, said the new businesses opening downtown show the economic tide is finally turning following the downturn that started in late 2007.

“The more choices we are able to provide for people downtown, the better off everyone is,” Newman said.

This story is a summary of one written for The Citizens’ Voice by Denise Allabaugh. Her story can be read here.

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