Isiah Walker, owner of Walker League Sports in Shavertown, wanted to do something to help small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He decided to organize a holiday shopping extravaganza that allows people to buy from more than 80 small businesses from Northeast Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and New York. His goal is to increase the number of small businesses to 100.
“A Gift For All,” will be held noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Mohegan Sun Pocono’s convention center in Plains Twp. It also features at least 20 entertainers and performers.
“With COVID affecting a lot of entrepreneurs, businesses, entertainers and performers, we felt this would be the perfect case and cause to try to bring everybody together,” Walker said.
With supply delays and possibilities looming that people may not get their Christmas gifts on time this year, Walker said, “Why not shop local and promote small businesses.”
“All the big box retailers are making their money off of us and our hard-earned dollar,” he said. “If you could take that same $500 and spread it out at the vendors there, everybody will succeed, survive and grow.”
Walker, who coaches basketball at the Rock Recreation Center in Shavertown, was inspired by his friend Brock Vieney to organize the event.
Vieney, a Wilkes-Barre resident who started his own business called Brock’s Fresh Breads, was successful selling his bread at the first-event Black-owned Business Expo at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
He said he was able to meet a number of people and network at the expo and gain new business opportunities.
He will return to the Plains Twp. casino’s convention center on Nov. 14 to sell his breads and new items.
“It’s a good time for everybody to come together,” Vieney said. “People missed out during COVID.”
Walker’s business, Walker League Sports, also designs athletic clothing and accessories which he will sell at the upcoming event. He also owns two area basketball teams, NEPA Stars and Stripes and the Pocono Peacemakers.
Walker, a graduate of GAR High School, earned his associate degree from Keystone College and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marywood University. He said his educational background helped him in organizing the event for small businesses.
Vieney helped organize the event along with Trish Sherman and Sara Stull. The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce and the SPCA of Luzerne County have been promoting it. Gifts will be accepted for the SPCA at the event.
Some spots remain available for vendors. Anyone interested can email Walker at [email protected].