Downtown WB nonetheless has its personal Utopia

Glassware store a longtime fixture on South Main St.

WILKES-BARRE — With medical hashish use legalized within the state, in addition to the inflow of recent hashish and hemp merchandise, like Delta 8 and 9 THC, CBD, and lots of different natural cures, the necessity for glassware, amongst different requirements, has by no means been increased.

Fortunately, Utopia, 82 S. Main St., on the intersection of South Main and East Northampton streets, has been offering exactly what one could must treatment quite a few illnesses because the ’90s.

Current proprietor Bob McCulloch, 43, of Hunlock Creek, was a longtime worker earlier than he took over a decade in the past.

“The previous owners, when they were looking to get out of the game, they asked a few of their employees and I was the one who stepped up and took over,” McCulloch mentioned.

And issues had been going effectively for years, till March of 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had to close from March, and I believe through August. September is when we opened back up,” he defined. That’s fairly a protracted layoff for a small native enterprise.

McCulloch defined that the store’s buyer base is consistently shifting and rotating. “A customer that you have at 18, you might have them at 28, 38, or 48 but chances are you’re going to lose those people by the time they’re 25, 26, 27. We’re used to that cycle and it (the pandemic) kind of just cut that cycle off. We felt like we had to restart our customer base.” He additional defined that with downtown workplace staff going distant and college students from King’s and Wilkes campuses doing the identical, it was a really actual wrestle to beat.

“It’s a lot less blue and yellow and red and gold downtown than I’ve seen in the past,” he mentioned, referring to the establishments’ colours.

However, McCulloch and his workers had been capable of safe some funding by way of a heads-up from the Diamond City Partnership. Though the funds had been initially given out as a mortgage, he was comfortable to say, “We just got a letter that it was just forgiven.”

Now, with the midway level of 2022 looming within the distance, issues have definitely begun to lookup and transfer in a greater route.

“I wouldn’t say things have gotten totally back to normal sales-wise,” McCulloch mentioned, “But as far as the store goes, our main focus was on employee and customer safety. So, first I came back and was kind of doing things by myself and then, you know, as unemployment ran out, that’s when we were like, ‘Alright, we wanted our people to be safe and now they’re running out of assistance.’”

At that time, McCulloch began bringing his workers of 4 again to work.

He spoke on being a single father of two, and the way a lot having workers again permits for not solely his fatherly duties, however for the shop to function on longer hours, permitting for extra prospects to return in who could not have been capable of as a consequence of work schedules or issues like that.

“Instead of being open from 12 to 6, well, now we could be open from 10 to 8, so those people who would get here before or after work were able to come,” McCulloch mentioned. “So, while sales are coming back, they aren’t quite to where they were, the rest of the functions of the store were able to come back in that way.”

Moving ahead, McColloch hopes to proceed to supply top-notch merchandise, like native or nationwide hand-blown glassware, in addition to do some extra promoting. “We sometimes feel like we have to remind people that we’re here,” he mentioned. He provided one concept he’s been engaged on with a neighborhood espresso roaster for a “grab-and-go” window, for native of us on the go, however the extra minute particulars are nonetheless below wraps.

“We do see ourselves as more than just a smoke shop and we really want to expand what we offer,” he mentioned.

While McCulloch acknowledged that one can go into virtually any comfort retailer these days and buy glassware, he encourages of us to not achieve this. “We research our products. We’re a specialty store. So, if this is stuff that you have an interest in, come see us. We’re going to be able to tell you all about the artists. We’re going to be able to tell you about the style of glassblowing they sued to create it. And the same with the other products that we offer.”

He additionally added that his workers is educated on different natural merchandise.

“If you want someone to talk to about CBD or Delta 9 or Delta 8, and all of the different cannabinoids, we’re somewhere where you could come and have a conversation about it. We’re going to give you the best information we can to help point out what products are going to be the best for you.”

Utopia affords solely authorized herbals and doesn’t promote any tobacco merchandise. They additionally provide transport if wanted. You can discover Utopia on Facebook at Utopia Glass Shop or Instagram at utopiawb or name at 570-208-2225. Utopia is open seven days per week, 10 a.m. to eight p.m. Monday by way of Friday, and 11 a.m. to six p.m. on the weekends.

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