SUNBURY — Downtown Sunbury is beginning to take the form of a real shopping destination in the Susquehanna Valley.
According to City Administrator Derrick Backer and City Treasurer Kevin Troup, 20 new businesses applied for licenses in 2022, which is up by nearly double over the course of the last five years, as the average amount of new applications has been anywhere from 10 to 12, officials said.
“It is great to see out-of-town individuals starting to frequent Sunbury for its restaurants, retail stores, community events, recreational parks and more,” Backer said. “Sunbury has a lot to offer, and I believe we have made tremendous progress over the last couple of years that has Sunbury moving in a positive direction for its future.
“Our code office has issued 20 permits to new businesses for certificate of occupancy in 2022 within the city of Sunbury. Some of those businesses are still working toward an opening date but this is great news for the city.”
The number of applications will keep growing if Mayor Josh Brosious gets his way, he said.
“Businesses are continuing to see the progress and determination of Sunbury to continue to advance and grow the city,” he said. “The proof is with all the new businesses that have opened, grew and advanced over the last few years.
“Sunbury is continuing to update its technology, infrastructure, and policies annually and you can see the progress constantly through the street projects such as Reagan Street, Susquehanna Avenue, Market Street and Arch Street having work done to them.”
The corner of 4th and Market Street still seems to be a concern to city officials, as the former Northumberland County Human Services building and the bank that sits across the street on 4th and Market remain vacant.
Brosious said the city is watching those properties and is always willing to help the private owners market them, but there has not been much movement on either in years.
Brosious continues to keep a positive outlook on the downtown growth and he may be right, said Francisco Pulido, who just opened Energy and Life Nutrition, just off Market Street on Fourth Street.
“God has blessed us with the opportunity to open here in Sunbury and we couldn’t be happier,” he said. “We opened in July and have a steady flow of customers coming in and out.”
Pulido and his wife Maria both said they are excited to see new businesses opening downtown.
“It’s nice to see other people taking the chances as well,” Pulido said. “Everyone here has been great to us and the people we are meeting have been so nice to us so we couldn’t ask for more.”
Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Garrett said he isn’t surprised people are picking Sunbury or downtown locations to open up a business.
“We are seeing a wave of this happening,” he said. “People are wanting to live, eat and play in the downtown areas and we started to see this trend happen.”
Garrett said the trends have shifted through the years from malls, to plazas, and are now swinging toward the downtowns.
“It’s happening all over and Sunbury is another place were people are wanting to go,” he said.
Sue Rissinger, who owns Cardella’s On Market, located at 353 Market St., agreed with Garrett.
“We have been here since April and we are very happy to be part of the downtown,” she said. “It’s so exciting to see so many new businesses beginning to pop up.”
Rissinger said she wanted to be in Sunbury.
“I continued to look for a place downtown,” she said. “I wanted to be here and we are happy to see people coming in and out to check out what we have to offer.”
Brosious said he is thrilled to hear new businesses are doing well and taking advantage of the things city officials prioritized.
“I believe the best thing we did for businesses was enacting the commercial inspection ordinance to prove that our buildings and properties are safe for business,” he said. “Sunbury will no longer take a back seat and will continue to move forward as long as I am mayor.”
Indie Made owner Lindie Lloyd Barnhart, another Market Street business owner, said she was happy to see so many new businesses coming to the city and offering various products.
“I want to see even more,” she said. “It’s always a good thing when people are opening up and bringing traffic to our downtown.”
Lloyd Barnhart serves as the president of the Sunbury Arts Council. She said events throughout Sunbury also are helping drive traffic.
Lloyd Barnhart runs various arts and crafts events throughout the year, including a popular fall festival, which brings thousands to the downtown and Brosious said these types of events are helping people notice the city.
“We are continuing to do more community events to bring the surrounding community into Sunbury to showcase all the wonderful resources the city has to offer, such as the River Front, swimming pool, ice skating rink, Kiethan’s (Bluebird) Gardens, and many more. Along with these events brings foot traffic to our local businesses,” Brosious said.
Another business that opened earlier this year was Fetter’s Meat Market, on Market Street.
According to employee Louann DeWalt, the place is busy.
“We are seeing a lot of people come in and out on a regular basis,” she said. “We are happy to be here in Sunbury.”
Sunbury Revitalization Inc. (SRI) President Melissa Rowse said the organization is noticing the new businesses popping up.
“We want all the businesses to know the very first year for Sunbury businesses is free for membership in SRI and all they need to do is fill out the application and if they like us they can continue on with us,” she said. “SRI is very grateful for all the businesses coming here because we feel it’s the heartbeat of the city and they showcase what we have to offer in Sunbury.
“We have taken notice of these businesses coming to the city and we are hopeful they succeed because we are all working together to bring Sunbury to the forefront of the Valley and increase foot traffic in the downtown.”
Rowse said SRI is happy to meet with any new business and will offer any support they could to them.
Troup said the city would do the same and he was happy to see people taking an interest in not only the downtown, but all through Sunbury
“I think it’s great we are seeing an increase,” he said. “This means people are wanting to come here to open up and that could only drive more traffic for us downtown and throughout the city.”
NEW SUNBURY BUSINESSES IN 2022
A Whisk Away
at Sunbury Market House
436 Market St.
Cardella’s on Market
353 Market St.
Down River Mkt/Driftwood & Sage
417 Market St.
Elders Restaurant & Catering
R. 916 Walnut St.
352 S. 4th St.
4th St Shop
33 N. 4th St.
Free Fallin’ Grille
300 Walnut St.
Hidden Stories Brewing
235 Market St.
98 N. 8th St.
Knightowls Game Room & Snackbar
33 N. 4th St.
259 Market St.
Mama G’s Bakery
at Sunbury Market House
436 Market St.
R. 323 Market St.
Robin’s Nest Family Restaurant
401 Market St.
S N D Liquidations
343 Market St.
Steam Innovations Lab LLC
363 Market St.
358 Market St.
425 Market St.
The Hound & the Moon Bakery
338 Market St.
Third Wind Coffee Company Station Cafe
100 N. Third St., Sunbury