WILKES-BARRE — Saturday’s below-freezing temperatures were ideal for the second-to-last day of the open-air fish market at Schiel’s Family Market.
The market, which runs every year from mid-December to New Year’s Eve, offers a wide selection of seafood items. The sale is dubbed the “Schiel’s Seafood Spectacular.”
“It’s all sale items that normally everyone gets during the holiday season,” explained Fred Schiel, of Hanover Township, whose father owns the supermarket. Schiel and employee Derek Domanski were working the chilly outdoor display.
“We do it every year. I’ve been doing it since I was about 14. I started coming down with my dad,” Schiel said, adding the tradition in the area began long before then.
“My dad used to work at other supermarkets, and they stuck him outside, too. That was probably the ‘80s,” he said.
The frigid outdoors ensure the items stay fresh.
“The shrimp and the lobster and crab and everything are already frozen, so we just have to make sure they stay frozen,” Schiel said. “It’s pretty cold out here, so they’re not going to defrost.”
Bonnie Fenner, of Wilkes-Barre, owns Bonnie’s Grooming Gallery in the city, where she’s been grooming the Schiels’ dog, Sesame, for about 11 years. She comes to buy fish at the Hanover Street market annually.
“I look forward to it, and their shrimp is the best. Amazing,” she said. “Their prices are really wonderful, too.”
Fenner said she does all her shopping at Schiel’s because of its sales and because the market has “the best butchers in town.” Nostalgia keeps her coming back to the open-air fish market.
“You see the same boys there every year freezing their little buns off, but they’re having fun,” she noted.
Schiel said the market has done well this year, but Saturday was by far the busiest. He expects another busy day for New Year’s Eve.
“We’ll be keeping busy back here, running around and keeping warm,” he smiled.