While social media has changed the way businesses market to consumers, Garden Drive-In owner Doug Barbacci said newspaper advertising is “probably the most important advertising we do.”
The Garden Drive-In on Route 11 in Hunlock Twp. is one of the businesses that has advertised in the The Citizens’ Voice since its beginning in 1978. And like other businesses, the drive-in has seen a return on its investment.
While many of its competitors have closed, the Garden Drive-In has remained in business for 66 years and still draws crowds in the summer to see movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and go to its popular flea market on Sundays.
Barbacci, who owns the Garden Drive-In with his wife Kim, said The Citizens’ Voice is a great place to advertise its movies, which recently wrapped up for the season, as well as its flea market which continues until the end of October.
Despite the rise in social media use, Barbacci said “people still reference the newspaper to see what’s in the movies.”
“It’s an important piece to let people know what we’re showing every week. We change movies every week and it keeps people informed,” Barbacci said. “People still read the newspaper and still want to see what movies are in and it helps get the word out what we’re showing and it keeps our name in front of them.”
The Garden Drive-In also promotes its movies on social media but Barbacci said “our intent is to always advertise in newspapers.”
Barbacci said he also gets tremendous feedback from articles about the drive-in in The Citizens’ Voice.
“Sometimes, someone will say that was a nice article in the paper and it’s three weeks later,” Barbacci said. “You really know people are reading the paper and they like those kinds of stories and they remember them and they don’t get that in other forms of media.”
Today, the Garden Drive-in is one of only three drive-in movie theaters left in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The other two are the Circle Drive-In in Dickson City and the Laurel Drive-In in Hazleton, which also are family-owned.
Kim Barbacci’s family bought the Garden Drive-In in the 1980s from the Cragle family. The price to see movies at the Garden Drive-In is $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Gallery of Sound also was one of The Citizens’ Voice’s early advertisers when it began publication 40 years ago that continues to advertise today.
Joe Nardone Jr., who runs Gallery of Sound with his father Joe Nardone Sr., said although the Internet has taken a toll on the music business like the newspaper industry, “We still find customers through print.”
“Print is in a different situation just like the record business but we’re still believers that people still look at the newspaper,” Nardone said.
When The Citizens’ Voice started in 1978, the Gallery of Sound had three music stores in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Twp. and the Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville.
At its peak in 2000, the music business had 11 stores throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania in Bloomburg, Clarks Summit, Dallas, Dickson City, Edwardsville, Hazleton, Matamoris, Mount Pocono, Pittston, Wilkes-Barre and Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Today, there are only two Gallery of Sound stores left on Mundy Street in Wilkes-Barre Twp. and in Dickson City.
Gallery of Sound continues to advertise in The Citizens’ Voice for its music stores as well as concerts, promotions and for his Rockology Music Academy in the East End Center in Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Despite the availability of free music on the Internet, Nardone said Gallery of Sound still sells CDs. Vinyl records “saved our business,” he said.
The Gallery of Sound tries to reach customers age 18 through senior citizens and Nardone said he believes the business reaches its target audience through the newspaper.
Newspaper articles promoting concerts and Rockology Music Academy also are helpful for business, he said.
“People are interested in local and keeping it local,” Nardone said. “I think it’s important that the paper stays focused on local events and happenings.”
Bartikowsky Jewelers, which was in business in downtown Wilkes-Barre for 125 years, also was one of the original advertisers in The Citizens’ Voice.
In 2013, the landmark business closed its doors and its now the site of the Karembelas Media and Communication Center at Wilkes University.
Max Bartikowsky, the 87-year-old retired president of Bartikowsky Jewelers and the third generation in his family who ran the business, is still an avid reader of The Citizens’ Voice.
When Bartikowsky Jewelers was in business, he said the newspaper was where he put most of his advertising.
“Personally, that’s the paper I buy every day,” Bartikowsky said. “I used to like the different format, the tabloid, but I still look forward to the Voice every day. I’m a Voice merchant and supporter.”
King’s College in Wilkes-Barre also has advertised in The Citizens’ Voice since its beginning.
Forty years ago, King’s College recognized The Citizens’ Voice as an “effective way effective way to communicate with prospective students and their parents in the Wyoming Valley,” said Patrick Farrell, associate vice president of college marketing and communications.
“King’s continues to advertise in The Citizens’ Voice because it has consistently met our needs and remains a viable and effective means for us to get our message to the community,” Farrell said. “Advertising in The Citizens’ Voice has helped build awareness about the college across Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
King’s College was established in 1946 by the Congregation of Holy Cross at the request of then Bishop William Hafey to establish a Catholic college to educate sons of the working class in the area. The college was established 32 years before The Citizens’ Voice began.
“We congratulate The Citizens’ Voice on 40 years of responsible journalism and reliable service to the community and advertisers,” Farrell said.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh