WILKES-BARRE -- A billion dollar business is putting its headquarters on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.
The insurance company Berkshire Hathaway Guard could have created its new national headquarters anywhere in the country, but the company chose to stay here and expand.
Berkshire Hathaway Guard announced Wednesday it is moving into the 10-story Wilkes-Barre Center building and adding 300 new jobs. Nearby businesses are ecstatic about the news.
With more than 700 employees on Public Square at Berkshire Hathaway Guard’s new headquarters, deli workers at Circles on the Square said they are excited about the new customer base.
“If they're expanding now and they keep expanding it's only going to bring more people downtown to work and be our customers,” Circles employee Bill Scholl said.
Currently, the insurance company has a spot on South River Street in Wilkes-Barre but the business bought a largely vacant 10-story tower on Public Square. It will be keeping the nearly 450 people already employed at Guard and adding about 300 new jobs in marketing, information management, and accounting.
“Now, when folks say there's nothing here in northeastern Pennsylvania all they have to do is look, one of the best businessmen in the history of the world, Warren Buffett said Wilkes-Barre is good enough and we want to plant our corporate flag in Wilkes-Barre,” Democratic State Senator representing the 14th district John Yudichak said.
Guard Insurance has been a fixture in Wilkes-Barre for years. Berkshire Hathaway bought it in 2012.
Right now, Guard’s operations here deal mostly with workers compensation cases. The new headquarters will handle many other financial operations.
The announcement was made on a rainy day in the city.
“It might be dark and gloomy and rainy outside but its the sunniest day Wilkes-Barre has ever had,” Mayor Tony George said.
Restaurant workers are already changing their lunch practices to get ready for the new customers.
“We're giving them their own menu. Making it up just for them, we're talking about catering to them daily... This only means good things for Rodano's and Franklin's as a business,” Head Cook at Franklin’s Bar and Grill Sean Carr said.
The state is kicking in two million dollars to bring the Berkshire Hathaway Guard headquarters to Wilkes-Barre.
The insurance company will move into the tower on Public Square in 2018.