It’s kind of refreshing to see during a major pandemic, Greater Pittston is making its way back little by little.

Case in point, the City of Pittston has had some business loss with COVID-19, but in the past week or so a few new businesses have joined the fray.

The Sports Page barbershop, Deetz Shirts and Embroidery, Carly’s Fairy Tail Dog Grooming and The Banks – a Waterfront Venue have all opened their doors in the city.

The Banks banquet facility located at the former Cooper’s Seafood on Kennedy Boulevard, has been transformed into a topnotch facility that will be run by partners Kevin Kearney and Jamie Granko.

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I had a chance to sit down with Kearney at the facility this past week to interview him for a future feature article on The Banks.

Kearney, a funeral director by day, along with his wife Natalie, owner of Petals Floral & Gift Boutique, Pittston, and Granko have been putting in a herculean effort getting the facility ready for the first official event, a wedding, that took place yesterday.

Contractors Pat Hadley and Tino Ferretti purchased Coopers two-years ago and started in earnest this past spring to do the full remodel. COVID-19 put a dent in the remodel timeline that essentially cancelled or postponed many events this summer.

Kearney and Granko are very excited about getting The Banks finally off the ground and getting the first few events under their belt.

Kearney said he grew up in West Scranton and being educated for a short time at Old Forge and finally at Scranton Prep. His dad started the Kearney Funeral Home business and Kevin, Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps.

I’m sure if you asked him five years ago if he would leave Lackawanna County to firmly be entrenched in Luzerne County when he and his wife Natalie and nearly 4-year-old son, Greyson, moved to West Pittston, started a flower shop in Pittston and now a banquet facility, he may have looked at you like you may have been tipping the bottle.

He’s a busy guy running not one, but two homes in Old Forge and Scranton, assisting his wife at the flower shop and now running a banquet facility.

I know first hand how busy he is when we have been trying to find a time to meet up to discuss The Banks. It wasn’t easy.

It’s safe to say Kearney and partner Granko are a bit nervous about taking on such a huge undertaking.

As it was getting down to the wire for a wedding this weekend, Granko was busy assembling the dance floor, earlier in the week, chandeliers were being installed and even on Friday morning, the bathrooms were getting painted.

On Friday morning, the tables were going to be laid out and set up with chairs and the decorations were to follow.

The seating capacity is a bit over 300 and the old cabana, now called The Glasserie can hold 100 more people. The back of the building has a great gathering area with three large gas-fired fire pits.

Most people will look back at 2020 and wonder if the year even happened, but for Kearney, 2020 has been so busy, his head has been spinning.

Needless-to-say, Kearney, at 44 years of age, has plenty of energy to complete all the tasks each day.

It will be interesting to see how The Banks will play out over the next few years, especially when the pandemic will be behind us.

It sure is great to see new businesses opening up in these trying times and I can only wish all of them great success. If their businesses succeed, we succeed as a community.

Remember to patronize as many local businesses as possible so they can survive. We are clearly not out of the woods with COVID, and that was pretty evident this past week when we learned the president and first lady were infected with the virus.

Wearing a mask is imperative, and I know we all do it, but sometimes we get lax in that responsibility. I’m afraid when I fall into that category, it will be my turn and that’s the scary part, if you get the virus, how will it affect you?

I do realize many of the cases are mild with some side affects and the other end of the spectrum is fatal. I don’t know if I want to take that chance.

Other news

Congrats to the City of Pittston in deciding to cancel Halloween’s Trick or Treat Main Street. I’ve covered that event for the past few years, and it’s a blast to see all the children (and parents) all dressed up in their favorite costumes.

For 2020, the city will be having a drive-through event-taking place at Pittston Area High School making it a safe event.

The Downtown Pittston Partnership has teamed up with Pittston Area and the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce to make something happen for the children.

I know all parties involved are looking for sponsors of the event to help purchase enough candy treats for 2,500 bags to pass out. If you are interested, contact Mary Kroptavich, Pittston’s Main Street Manager or the Chamber to help out.

Quote of the week

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Tony Robbins

Thought of the week

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair

Bumper sticker

“It’s not the length of life, but the depth of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson