WILKES-BARRE -- Phil Rudy is gone, but his memory lives on as the popular deli he owned in downtown Wilkes-Barre is back open for business. Although he wasn't there, his personality shines through the quirky decorations and the upbeat music at "Circles on the Square."
"All the crazy little things he used to buy and sell, we'd be like, 'Phil, what are you buying that for?' Then we'd sell three of them," said Kathy Alaimo.
Between the odd collectibles and the topical sandwich names, employees say they hope they can keep that part of Phil within the store on Public Square.
"His wife will be in charge now, and we're going to be a team and try to keep us in downtown Wilkes-Barre," said Alaimo.
"I'm glad to see it's open. I'm glad to see everything is trying to remain the same," said Arthur Silverblatt.
Employees say their customers tell them they couldn't imagine Wilkes-Barre without "Circles on the Square."
"We have a real good rapport with our customers. We talk back to them a little bit. We have fun with them. We have fun with all our customers," added Alaimo.
"Very faithful customers here," said Silverblatt. "I see the same people every day. I'm sure they're going to continue to come in."
Phil's wife Debbie says Phil was more than a boss but a friend to the people who worked for him. His employees agree.
"He'll always be here because he's just such a part of everything here. That's what's going to be hard to duplicate," Alaimo said.
"Most of the employees here have been with Phil for years. I think that's a testament to his character and the kind of business he's built. I think that's something we should all support," said Silverblatt.