Women Opening New Boutiques in Scranton Mirroring National Trend

By Kathleen Bolus
The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.

Young Northeast Pennsylvania natives with a flare for fashion are bringing their businesses to Scranton, mirroring a national trend where women are increasingly at the forefront of successful businesses.

“So many people in Scranton want young people to do good,” said Maggie Mineo, 26, owner of the Daisy Collective in the Hill Section of Scranton. “It’s up to us to get it back up and running.”

In August, Ms. Mineo moved home from New York City, where she managed a Free People store.

“After a while, I was really homesick,” said Ms. Mineo.

With no initial plans to open a clothing store, after two weeks home she came up with the concept for the Daisy Collective at 1402 Ash St.

“I decided to put my heart and soul into creating a unique boutique,” said Ms. Mineo. “I’m young and I have the ambition.”

Ms. Mineo is at least the fifth young woman to open an independently-owned boutique in Scranton. Recently, she joined a shop on North Washington Avenue and another on Spruce Street. And it seems that woman-owned businesses are a growing trend nationally, according to a report commissioned by American Express.

Businesses increased by 41 percent between 1997 and 2013, while woman-owned businesses grew by 59 percent — nearly 1 1/2 times the national average, the report published last year found.

“Indeed, the growth in the number (up 59 percent), employment (up 10 percent) and revenues (up 63 percent) of women-owned firms over the past 16 years exceeds the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly traded firms,” according to the study.

On the corner of Washington Avenue and Mulberry Street is Modish, a women’s clothing store owned by Maria Sacco, 24.

Ms. Sacco is no stranger to locally-owned businesses. Her family runs the Gourmet Slice at the Shoppes at Montage and Dino and Francesco’s in Moosic. Her brother, Tony Sacco, also under 30, opened Sacco’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant on Meadow Avenue in South Scranton a year and a half ago.

Ms. Sacco, who opened Modish at the end of June, said her location is prime for students from the high schools, colleges and universities in the area.

She came up with the idea for Modish to help keep shoppers local and in style and described Modish as trendy and affordable.

“I wanted to have a store that people could dress up and look and feel beautiful without having to spend a crazy amount of money,” she said,

Further down the street at 123 N. Washington Ave., is Over the Moon. The baby, home and dog store was opened October 2012 by Julie Falzett, 26, another Scrantonian with New York City business experience.

“I like shopping the downtown (Scranton) area,” said Ms. Falzett. “I like the idea of walking around and seeing the different merchants and things.”

Ms. Falzett, a graduate of Scranton Prep, is also a graduate of LIM College in New York City where she majored in visual merchandising. After interning and then working for a year at ABC Carpet & Home in the Flat Iron District of New York, Ms. Falzett decided to bring her experience home.

“If you have a new puppy, planning your wedding or having a baby, it’s (the store) for all of those things,” she said.

“Hopefully you’re over the moon about one or not all of those things.”

The store specialized in items for babies and dogs along with home-goods like lamps, bedding, china and bar wear. Also featured are handcrafted pottery dinner wear and other handcrafted items and home decor like chop blocks, wine coolers, bowls, glasses and vases.

“I try and get things that are new brands to this area,” said Ms. Falzett, “things that I liked in New York or researched online.”

The store has also become a little destination for baby and wedding gifts, said Ms. Falzett. Soon-to-be married couples, expecting moms and new homeowners can also make a registry on through the store’s website, overthe

Ms. Falzett said she loves her location in the Connell Building and said she would love to see more people walking and enjoying the downtown Scranton area, “like you would in Philly or New York.”

“I like the idea of being part of that foot traffic,” she said.

Over on Spruce Street is Burlap and Bourbon.

The “men’s one-stop shop” store was opened in May by Stephanie Sebastianelli, 24.

“The store is kind of a broad concept,” said Ms. Sebastianelli. “It’s really both classic and modern.”

Another NEPA native excited to be open in Scranton, Ms. Sebastianelli is a graduate of Bishop Hannon. She graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2011 and has her first experience in fashion working at Gucci in Philadelphia. Ms. Sebastianelli then made her way to New York City, where she worked as a knit wear buyer for Century21 Department Store.

In 2013 Ms. Sebastianelli said she decided to be part of the downtown Scranton fashion scene.

“I can never imagine myself opening anywhere else.”

Burlap and Bourbon sells classic tailored shirts along side modern items, like embroidered v-neck T-shirts and pink corduroy pants with the vineyard vines logo (a pink whale), said Ms. Sebastianelli.

Although shoppers can’t sit down for a Mint Julep or a Manhattan at the store, Ms. Sebastianelli sells bar accessories like flasks, shakers, whiskey stones and coasters to incorporate the Bourbon aspect from the store name.

“I wanted to be part of shopping local and create a local footprint,” said Ms. Sebastianelli.

Adjacent to Burlap and Bourbon is Freedlove, owned by Honesdale native Nadine Bryant, 27.

The company, started in 2009 in Honesdale, has been located in downtown Scranton for about 2 1/2 years.

Ms. Bryant said when she found the storefront at 532 Spruce St., she fell in love and saw such potential for her business there.

Along with up-to-date styles and accessories, Freedlove also sells gift items like cards, blankets and books.
“People of all ages find something in here,” said Ms. Bryant.

The Daisy Collective, Modish, Freedlove, Burlap and Bourbon, and Over the Moon use social networking sites and apps like Facebook and Instagram to keep shoppers up-to-date on new items, events and promotions going on in their stores and around their locations.

One passion all the business owners have in common is they strive to keep revenue and shoppers local.

“There is a lot of younger energy and more things happening,” said Ms. Bryant.

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