Spring and summer 2021 have been buoyed by the joyous return of in-person events. We’ve commemorated them here, peppering in previously unimaginable terms like “virtual,” “livestream” and “hybrid” about events that used to just be events. When the world realized that the COVID-19 pandemic was much more than a two-week inconvenience, we just forged on. Businesses figured out how to operate, event organizers pivoted to cyberspace and human beings found resiliency. 

When I joined Coal Creative at the end of April, my colleagues were primarily a collage of  shoulders and heads on my computer screen. Honestly, it barely registered as strange. People piled into cars to watch NEPA Sings on a drive-in movie screen without hesitation. We all adjusted to reality because what else could we do?

It’s ceaselessly cool to come on board at such a time of transition. This community — in which I’m lumping everyone who lives in NEPA but especially the creatives, business owners and young professionals — is badass. We’ve made it through.  It’s time to celebrate our resiliency. Wow! What a month!


Welcome Jesse Macko

Another month. Another addition to the Coal Crew. Our exciting streak of new employees rolls on. In July, Jesse Macko started as our Social Media Specialist. He is leading the charge on social media, helping our clients plan, implement and engage on their channels. 

Jesse is a Penn State alumni and coffee-obsessive who likes exploring, listening to music and spending time with friends. As of this publication he has successfully executed two latte art hearts. He hopes to do more and I hope to drink one. 


Sips Among the Stacks

Osterhout Free Library was yet another community organization to host its first event since last year. Sips Among the Stacks honored Barbara Maculloch and Barbara O’Donnell — known to many simply as “The Barbs.” The Barbs were the original founders of the Osterhout Gala in 2006. 

Members of the Coal Creative team were among the sippers in the stacks. We also got video, which will be used at the 2021 Osterhout Gala. The gala is September 10 at the Westmoreland Club. The theme will be “London Calling.” Learn more about the upcoming gala here.


Filming for Bench Project

On July 15, Production Manager Alex Manganella and Video Specialist  Jay Nguyen travelled to Twin Oaks Farm in Shavertown to shoot video with one of our newest collaborators: The Bench Project.

Beth and Lenny Romanowski welcomed Alex and Jay to their organic farm where they specialize in garlic and grow a range of produce.

“Beth and her husband gave us a tour of the benches that circle the whole farm and into the woods,” Jay said. “They shared the history of some of the benches and how they represented something or someone.”

A golf cart trip around the property took the foursome to an elegant white bench for an interview with Beth. 

“She talked about what the Bench Project is about and showed us the bags that are secured to the benches. Each bag consists of a notebook and a writing utensil for visitors to write down any thoughts they might have,” Jay explained.

The visit ended after a bit more filming, including drone footage of the farm. Stay tuned for the premier of this video.


Sunsets on SOMA

Sunsets on South Main drew a large crowd to Midtown Village in WIlkes-Barre on Thursday, July 15. Many members of the Young Professionals Network were in attendance.


Sunsets on South Main, a pop-up happy hour series hosted by the Diamond City Partnership,  brought food, drink and music to the streets of Midtown Village on Thursday, July 15. It also brought out many members of the  Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber Elevate Young Professionals Network, including Holly K. Pilcavage, Coal CEO and YP chair;  Jesse, Social Media Specialist;  Sam O’Connell, Creative Director and Camaryn Lokuta, Business Development Manager.

Sunsets on South Main is held every third Thursday. There are still two more happy hours left this summer. We’ll see you there on August 19 and September 16. 


Rockin’ The River

The Rockin’ The River Concert Series, which took over The River Common at Millenium Circle for three Fridays in a row, delivered live music to the banks of the Susquehanna. The free concert featured a mix of tribute bands and east coast recording artists.  


The series is officially in its third year. Last year, organizers pivoted due to COVID-19. The performances were mobilized by way of a flatbed truck. The temporarily-dubbed “Rockin’ The County”, transported live bands around Wilkes-Barre, Hazelton, Pittston, Nanticoke and Kingston/Forty Fort over a five-week stretch. 


NEPA Creative Meet up

NEPA Creative hosted two breakout sessions during it’s July Meetup. Shown from left are NEPA Creative Co-Founder Sam O’Connell, artist Mitchell Bagnas, comedian Angelia Petrillo and NEPA Creative Co-Founder Holly K. Pilcavage.


NEPA Creative once again welcomed a big group to Kirby Park for its monthly Creative Meetup. Mitchell Bagnas presented a talk called “What goes into being a professional artist?” Agelia Petrillo led an improvisation class with tools for professional and personal life. 

An unofficial theme of “stepping out of your comfort zone,” emerged, according to Sam, Coal’s Creative Director and NEPA Creative Co-Founder.

“I say this because between the incredible, side-splitting improv session led by Angelia Petrillo and the thoughtful presentation from artist and first-time public speaker Mitchell Bagnas — everyone tried something new and left with something special,” said Sam, who added his takeaway was a print of a three-headed duck by Mitchell.

NEPA Creative will be back at Kirby Park on Tuesday, August 17 at 6PM for its monthly meetup. Visit the NEPA Creative Facebook page for more information as the date approaches. 


Chamber Joint Member Mixer

Members of the Greater Pittston Chamber and the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber met for a joint mixer on July 21. Holly, Sam and Camaryn Lokuta, from Coal Creative, were among the attendees. The event was held at Susquehanna Brewing Company in Pittston. Discounted beer, hot dogs and a good time were all on tap.


Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association Reception

Coal Creative CEO Holly K. Pilcavage, center, accepts a donation from the WIlkes-Barre Law & Library Association on behalf of Dress for Success of Luzerne County.


The Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association made donations to 18 different organizations at their summer outing on Friday, July 23. Holly accepted a donation on behalf of Dress for Success Luzerne County. Holly is a Dress for Success board member and a lay member of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association. 

“We truly have an incredible network of individuals representing the law and decision-making on a local and state level based right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Holly shared. “They understand the importance of supporting our community through the various nonprofits with forward-thinking, impactful missions.”


Brandon’s Forever Home

Brandon’s Forever Home is one local organization that is carrying on with virtual events. They have been hosting 30-minute Q&A sessions about foster care and adoption during the pandemic. Director Lori Ogurkis and our Executive Assistant Missy Nenstiel field questions on Zoom and the discussion is live streamed on Facebook.

“I think it is incredibly useful for people who are thinking of becoming foster parents,” said Camaryn, our Business Development Manager. “They get so many incredible questions! 

The Q&A sessions will continue every other month going forward. Learn more about the next event and sign up for the Zoom link here.


Marketing to Millennials

Holly and Samantha Bucher, our Content Manager and Design Specialist, delivered a virtual presentation for the Wilkes University  Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on July 28. “Time to Rethink Your Playbook: How to Market to Millennials and Gen Z” bridged the gap between generational trends and purchasing decisions. 

“Millennials get a bad rap, but in reality, this is a varied generation that spans decades,” Samantha explained. “In 2021, Millennials can be anywhere from 25-40 years old. These are recent college graduates, entry-level workers, parents, managers, and more who don’t all fit into the stereotypical millennial mold.”

The presentation explored ways to update your marketing strategy to reach the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.

“When looking at the key traits of generations on paper, it’s interesting to see what carried over from previous generations, what was left behind, and what was improved upon,” said Samantha. “For example, many millennials are socially-conscious and care about a brand’s values. They tend to make very loyal customers. This is also true for Gen Z, but members of this generation take it to the next level. They are more likely to seek out truth and mobilize for causes they believe in.”


River Paddle

The Wyoming County Chamber’s “Water Trail to Ale Paddle” combined the area’s natural beauty with a local brewery on Thursday, July 29. Holly, Sam and Alex joined other chamber members for a leisurely two-hour paddle from Howland Preserve Launch to the launch at Tunkhannock Riverside Park. When the kayakers reached their destination, they were treated to food and beer flights at Nimble Hill Brewing.


NEPA Sings Wrap Up Party

While some of us were paddling through the endless mountains, Camaryn was celebrating the success of NEPA Sings. Everyone involved in the event, which was broadcast on June 24 at the Garden Drive In, was invited to the wrap up party at Kevin’s Bar and Restaurant in Kingston. Coal Creative had the privilege of being involved throughout the NEPA Sings process. Sam served as a judge during the audition process and our video team produced the finals broadcast.

Now let’s barrel into the month of August. We hope to see you out in NEPA. If you see us, say hello and remember, always stay coal!

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