Bee’s Backyard: Buzzing for Inclusion

By Meg Sweeney
University of Scranton

Bee’s Backyard, located in the Marketplace at Steamtown, is a place for children to play and parents to relax.

Owner Bridget Moran started the business after being inspired by a similar facility in Atlanta, and so she decided to bring it to the Scranton area.

“When our family decided to move back to Scranton, we thought, ‘Wow, it would be great if there was a place like this here!’,” Ms. Moran said.

Moran’s shoe-free facility pays homage to traditional outdoor play. With an indoor jungle gym, toddler area, soft play area, inflatable slide, and other additional rooms, Bee’s Backyard plays host to a variety of birthday parties and events, such as local school field trips, all day play for special needs organizations and benefits for non-profit organizations.

Bee’s Backyard also offers events that give parents of special needs children a chance to watch them play while also being able to relax.

“We want to let people know that they can take their children here if they need special accommodations,” Ms. Moran said. “Our doors are open to everyone.”

“I have friends whose children are autistic and who told me that this is the first place where they can actually sit and feel comfortable,” Ms. Moran continued. “The parents enjoy it here just as much as the children do.”

For more information, visit

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.

Electric City Escape: A Bright Future

By Ralph Rezza
University of Scranton

It all started in Prague.

Electric City Escape founders Ryan and Amy Hnat were in that city and stumbled upon an escape room. Eager to bring the idea home to Scranton, they approached the Marywood University Entrepreneurial Launchpad for help.

“We thought it would be really cool to have something in our community that was both exciting and theatrical,” Ryan said.

Electric City Escape has expanded numerous times since it opened to the public in 2017. Originally comprised of two rooms, Ryan and Amy’s hard work has resulted in multiple expansions of the business, which now has four unique escape rooms: the “Art Heist,” the “Coal Mine,” the “Final Act: the Houdini Experience,” and the “Doctor’s Study.” Ryan Hnat built and created all of the puzzles. A school teacher by trade, Ryan credits his success to his professional background.

“I understand positive and negative rewards,” he said. “When you allow people to find different clues, it helps build that theatrical experience.”

From now until the end of the year, students get 40 percent off on Thursdays or 10 percent off other days of the week with a student ID.

Wanting to bring enjoyment, theater, and fun to the people of Scranton, the Hnats hope to play an active role in Scranton’s Renaissance.

“Our goal is to provide fun and adventure outside of your daily norm… we may not bring in hundreds of people into Electric City Escape every night, but we notice the impact we have on other businesses in the downtown by helping the economy,” Ryan said.

For more information, visit

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.



Mackarey & Mackarey offers Wellness, Prevention and Education to Scranton Community

By Zachary Thomas
University of Scranton      

Mackarey and Mackarey Physical Therapy Consultants is a family-owned practice located in downtown Scranton on Penn Ave. The practice is comprised of president Paul Mackarey Sr., PT, DHSc, OCS, vice president Esther G. Mackarey PT, and son Paul Mackarey Jr. PT, DPT. The family is alumni of the Temple University Physical Therapy program.

Educating the Scranton community on health prevention has always been a major mission for the Mackarey family. The family feels that “spreading their knowledge of injury and prevention is their duty and privilege.” Having started their practice in 1983, the Mackarey family’s primary goal is to stay involved in the local community and to serve patients through a unique family touch, current evidence and science.

“For me, it was a great opportunity to come back to the area,” said Paul Mackarey, Sr.  “I realized I belong here; the people here are much more approachable. He feels that “ the greatest natural resource in NEPA is our people.” Paul Mackarey, Sr. says that family ties are special to them and when patients walk through their doors every morning, they become a part of their close family.

Paul Mackarey, Jr. worked with top-tier orthopedic surgeons in Philadelphia before returning to Scranton. He says that Scranton was a great place to start his career and he always dreamed to work alongside his father.

“My company offered me a leadership role and I needed to decide if I wanted to start a long-term career in Philadelphia or come home to joint the business,” he said. “At the end of the day, the decision wasn’t hard. “You can have a bigger impact in Scranton by educating your patients and community. There is greater opportunity to participate in community projects,” he said.

Aiming to provide a “Disney experience” for patients, Paul Mackarey, Sr and Jr. believe that “physical therapy should be about having fun and gaining relationships throughout their recovery.” The Mackarey Family believes, what makes them unique is no one sits in the waiting room. They state, “If the patient is early of late, it does not matter, come back and join the fun.” “Our relationship with our patients is key,” Paul Mackarey, Jr. said. He explains “the way a patient feels about their recovery and the person helping them, that is just as powerful and the physical component of healing.”

The family is currently offering a free hour-long low-back pain educational discussion that they will offer throughout NEPA. The main goal of this lecture is to expose the “truth about lower back pain” and how it is managed in America. The discussion ends with easy home-based exercises designed to keep a healthy spine and help prevent lower back injuries.

For more information, call 570-558-0290 or visit

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.

Electric City Trolley Museum: Keeping History Alive

By Samantha Calderone
University of Scranton

The Electric City Trolley Museum has been offering trolley excursions since opening in 1999. Passengers can take a fully-guided 10-mile tour from the Steamtown National Historic Site along the Roaring Brook through the Laurel Line Tunnel to PNC Field in Moosic. Once at the stadium, riders disembark and are given a brief tour of the restoration shop.

The Laurel Line Tunnel is one of the longest interurban tunnels ever built, at 4,750 feet long. The trolley tours follow part of the original Laurel Line railroad, while the extension to PNC Field in Moosic was completed in 2006. Wayne Hiller, Electric City Trolley Station and Museum Manager, explained that although the museum has excursions, it also has a 50-seat theater, interactive displays, an inside look at a refurbished trolley and an interactive children’s room.

“There’s a big table of blocks and a trolley line in the children’s room,” Mr. Hiller said. “We also have an overhead trolley running around on top of the room and a small video. The kids they stay active in there, especially the young ones.”

Scranton became known as the Electric City in 1887 because it was the first city in the United States with a successful trolley line. The museum’s primary goal is to keep the Electric City’s legacy alive by creating family-friendly events. Mr. Hiller explained that during the holiday season the Electric City Trolley Museum decorates the Laurel Line tunnel with lights. Families are also given the opportunity to ride the trolley with Santa during the month of December and each child is given a bag of candy.

“Santa interacts with the children and they all sing Christmas carols on the way back and in our tunnel,” Mr. Hiller said. “If you’ve ever seen the holiday display at Nay Aug Park, you have an idea of how the lights look, our tunnel lights follow the same premise.”

Santa on the Trolley is available every weekend in December leading up to Christmas. Although the trolley generally departs four times on operating days, during the holidays the departure times are increased to five or six times a day.

The museum also has a Trim-A-Tree event, which was created to increase school involvement. Teachers from local school districts are given the chance to come up with teams of students to decorate a tree according to the year’s theme. The public votes for the best tree, and the winning school receives a plaque as well as a prize aimed to help teachers buy supplies. Each student who participates is also given two passes for a trolley ride. Other events include character visits during the summer months and Halloween fest.

The operating season for trolley excursions begins in April and ends in October, and trolley rides are available Thursday through Sunday. Trolley excursions depart from the loading platform at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

According to Mr. Hiller, the museum has multiple cars that run, but it only operates two cars for the trolley excursions.

For more information, visit

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.

Scranton Cultural Center: Building Community

By Andrew Gregorowicz
University of Scranton

The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple aims to support the Scranton community by sponsoring a wide variety events and by encouraging people to participate in their programming efforts.

Located in downtown Scranton, the Cultural Center serves as a home to Broadway tours, as well as professional musical and dramatic theater productions.

Executive Director Deborah Peterson describes the Cultural Center as a historic building that is feeling the pains of age.

“There are challenges of efficiency and utilities, as well as in keeping the integrity of the building,” Ms. Peterson said. “It is a historic national building, so we need to maintain it as best as we can.”

Since taking the helm, Ms. Peterson has made it her mission to keep the Cultural Center as the leading performing arts venue in region. She said that one of the challenges the team faced was to become more fiscally prudent.

“We faced many challenges over the years,” Ms. Peterson said. “But we are in a position now to reap the benefits of our team’s hard work and determination.”

The Cultural Center has been very successful through its children’s programming by getting children to learn the fundamentals of theater production.

“The program participants are gaining success not only in learning skills, but certainly by gaining self-esteem and being part of a team,” Ms. Peterson said. “We see the programming grow every year and are constantly looking for ways to expand on what we offer.”

Some of the other events that occur at the Cultural Center include weddings, concerts, Broadway plays and the annual Scranton Fringe Festival.

“There are four events that go on simultaneously during the day and we are very happy to see these things happen,” Ms. Peterson said. “Being a part of the community is vital to our success.”

Ms. Peterson stressed that in order to keep the Cultural Center moving forward, the community must continue to work hard as a team.

“Our staff, board and community partners are moving this place ahead and we want to be accountable and accessible to the community in general,” she said. “We have a responsibility to preserve this building for future generations and we hope the community sees it that way.”

For more information visit

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.

Peculiar Slurp Shop: A First for Scranton

By Kyle Bravin
University of Scranton

Peculiar Slurp Shop throws its own twist on dishes to make them unique, according to co-owner Miranda Philbin.

“We don’t call ourselves authentic,” she said. “We take well-known dishes and throw our own twist on them, hence the ‘peculiar’ name. This is what we’ve done with any food we’ve served in the past.”

A family-owned restaurant in downtown Scranton, Peculiar Slurp Shop is the first ramen shop in Northeast Pennsylvania. Their nearest competitor is located in Easton, although they don’t focus on their competitors. The staff’s goal is to have fun creating their own dishes and putting their heart into their business.

“We put our heart and soul into it, so it really is a privilege and a blessing to be able to open our doors and offer what we enjoy doing by putting it all out there for people,” Ms. Philbin said. “When we see that people are really enjoying what we are offering it makes us very happy.”

Ms. Philbin co-owns Peculiar Slurp Shop with her husband, Gene, who is also the chef. The two have been working in the restaurant business since 2012 and first started with pop-up shops that eventually led to opening a food truck. After their food truck experiment, they both decided they wanted to open a storefront restaurant.

Peculiar Slurp Shop’s most popular dish is the Pork Belly Ramen, which consists of Gochujang roasted chashu, pork bone/soy/ginger broth, poached egg, radish, sprouts, scallions and noodles.

Ms. Philbin said that Peculiar Slurp Shop takes pride in the time they spend crafting each dish, for example, the broths they serve are simmered for 36 hours with bones and the noodles are guaranteed fresh.

“Everything is made with love,” she said. “Whenever you come in and enjoy a bowl of ramen the service is very fast because everything has already been done. All of the hard work, all of the prep time has been done so it is just assembling the bowl and eating.”

Peculiar Slurp Shop is still in its infancy stages and plans to expand. Being the first noodle shop in the Scranton area, they are creating a whole new outlook on ramen noodles that people didn’t previously know about.

“Stay tuned as far as future growth goes, because we don’t have any immediate plans to open another spot,  but there are some plans rolling around down the line so this isn’t the last you’ve heard of us,” Ms. Philbin said.

This article was written as part of a collaborative effort between Dr. Kim Pavlick’s COMM 224 Newswriting class at the University of Scranton and the Chamber’s Communications Department.

SWB RailRiders Accepting Resumes for 2019 Internship Program


MOOSIC, PA (January 3, 2018) – The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are now accepting resumes for their 2019 internship program.  The club is seeking interns in a variety of areas and will offer both paid and for-credit positions.

The RailRiders will have 2019 internships in the following areas/ fields: Box Office, Client/Corporate Services, Community Relations,  Game Operations, Marketing, Media Relations/ Broadcasting, Social Media and Ticket Sales.

All resumes can be emailed to Amy Miller, the RailRiders Business Operations Manager, at  Please note in the subject line which internship you are interested in.  Resumes will be forwarded on to the appropriate department for further review.  Interviews will be set by each department head at their own discretion.

The team is holding job fairs on January 12 and 16 for seasonal employment.  Internship interviews will not be conducted during these job fairs.

For more information on the 2019 RailRiders internship program and available positions or the upcoming job fairs, please visit or call (570) 969-BALL.