WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Staples is reopening Saturday at the Arena Hub Plaza.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., according to Lindsay Bezick, chief operating officer at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce.
Staples was one of the stores hit hard by the June 13 EF-2 tornado.
Bezick said members of the local community are invited to attend the ribbon-cutting and visit the store’s new and improved print and marketing department. They will also be giveaways, sales incentives and a raffle to win prizes.
Robert Tamburro, trustee and general partner of TFP Limited — owners of the Arena Hub Plaza — said remodeling of all the stores hit by the tornado continues. He expects Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx, PetSmart and Barnes & Noble to be reopened for the holidays.
”Staples was significantly impacted by the June 13 tornado,” Tamburro said. “Since then, it’s been a total team effort working to get them back to a condition to reopen.”
Melissa Blanchard, general manager for Staples, said all 16 employees will return to work Saturday. She said the store incurred severe water damage, necessitating a major renovation.
Blanchard said the office supply store’s copy center will be larger and the tech department has been relocated to the front of the building.
“The roof was blown off and everything inside was water-damaged,” Blanchard said. “It got to everything.”
Blanchard credited Belfor Property Restoration of Allentown for doing a great job working to get the store reopened. She said the store has been open in the Arena Hub Plaza for nearly 14 years.
Blanchard said there was never any doubt that Staples would reopen at the same location.
The Eddie Bauer Outlet reopened earlier this month and Barnes & Noble opened in a temporary space at 250 East End Centre, site of a former Sears Outlet store. Officials have said previously the main store is expected to reopen before Thanksgiving.
Commons in limbo
Meanwhile, there is still no word on the future of the Wilkes-Barre Township Commons, the plaza adjacent to the Arena Hub. Stores that were located in the Commons have yet to learn if the property owner, Urban Edge Properties, will rebuild.
When contacted, Urban Edge has declined comment several times. The Commons buildings were severely damaged and have been condemned so they can be demolished.
Hardest hit was the building that housed Panera Bread, Tovon & Co., America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, LA Nails, Sneaker King, GameStop and Famous Footwear.
Tommy Van Scoy Jr., owner and president of Tovon and Co., has leased a new store in the Dallas Shopping Center.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.