Business owners react to renaming Spruce Street for President Joe Biden

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Jul. 21—SCRANTON — Several owners of Spruce Street businesses oppose renaming the road for President Joe Biden, but back renaming the Central Scranton Expressway.

Scranton City Council is expected tonight at its 6:30 p.m. meeting to vote on renaming the Central Scranton Expressway and Spruce Street after Biden.

Last week, some business owners raised concerns that renaming Spruce Street would hamper businesses with extra costs from changing printed and marketing materials, notifying many vendors of an address change and undermining prior search engine optimization and geotargeting. Instead, the city should rename only the Central Scranton Expressway for Biden, they said.

On Tuesday, several other business owners generally agreed with those sentiments.

Carol Heim and her daughter, Kayla Heim, of Scoops on Spruce ice cream shop, 406 Spruce St., noted they put the street name in their business title.

"Our name is Scoops on Spruce ... I don't want to change it to Scoops on Biden," Kayla Heim said.

The Heim family owns both the 406 and 408 Spruce St. buildings, with retail at street level and apartments above, Carol Heim said.

"They're creating a nightmare for the businesses," Carol Heim said. "Why can't they stop it (the renaming) at the expressway."

Justin Amendolaro of Amendolaro clothing, jewelry and gift boutique, 412 Spruce St., agreed.

"The expressway, I think, is sufficient. They don't need to come down Spruce and rename it," Amendolaro said.

The expressway provides enough high visibility off of Interstate 81 for renaming and other, related possibilities, said Jessica Bredbenner of The Loft petite venue and event space, 326 Spruce St.

"You'd see it as soon as you come in (off the interstate), or they can even do some type of mural around there and incorporate" it into the renaming, Bredbenner said.

Stephanie Grudis of Tom Grudis Optical and The Bare Accessories, 424 Spuce St. faulted city elected officials for not first seeking input of business owners.

"My biggest issue is they didn't come around and talk to the businesses. That's the part that really bothers me," Grudis said. "I don't think there's any reason they have to change Spruce Street. If they want to change the expressway, by all means, I don't have a problem with that."

But Damian Biancarelli of Guy's Barber Shop, 626 Spruce St., said neither the expressway nor Spruce Street should be renamed. Biden already was honored with a Joe Biden Way designation near his boyhood home in Green Ridge and further honors of some sort could go at the downtown Courthouse Square.

"I think it's perfectly reasonable to do that (have an honor at the square) without changing the name of the street," Biancarelli said. "I'm not big on statues of people, naming streets after people."

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