Staples Reopening Three Months After Tornado

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Recovery continues for stores at the Arena Hub Plaza after a tornado damaged several retail outlets in June.

Chain-link fencing still closes off part of the Arena Hub shopping center near Wilkes-Barre. Small signs alert customers to the stores that have reopened.

Staples office supply store plans to reopen Saturday.

"It's been a challenge. I will say that," Melissa Blanchard, store manager.

On June 13, a tornado made a direct hit on the strip of stores where Staples is located. Blanchard had to wait three days before looking at the damage.

"And at that point, there was stuff still falling. It was still unsafe, so they let us come in quick to the building, and then we had to stay out until they came to deem the property safe," Blanchard explained.

It took weeks for the store to begin rebuilding damaged sections. Workers spent the last two weeks restocking store shelves.

Most of the store looks ready to open. The shelves look like they did before the tornado, but there are a few empty ones. The store manager says she expects everything to be ready by Saturday's opening.

"The inventory, most of it is here already. We'll maybe have to shop for maybe about 10 percent," said Blanchard.

For the past three months, Blanchard was more than an office supply store manager. She's worked with builders and electricians to fix the damage, reassure regular customers her outlet will reopen, work with other Staples stores to get supplies to fill the shelves, and tidy up for opening day.

"My job as a store manager was to facilitate everything and to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks," Blanchard said.

Come Saturday, Staples will be the latest retailer in this damaged shopping center to reopen as businesses slowly return to normal.


  • smokybones

    The only thing Melissa facilitated was laying everyone off last month while she still collected her salary. Melissa was on vacation all summer while the rest of the staff scrambled on how they were going to pay their bills.She did not reach out or help her associates in a time of need and disaster which a good leader would of done like all the other stores did. For her it was all about ME ME ME ME. She DID NOT FIND THE ELECTRICIANS, OR BUILDERS home office and the owner of the arena hub did. She is so full of lies i think she believes herself. She was at the arena hub 3 times since the tornado happened the 3 times she sat on her butt and smoked the entire day. She is a bad manager and human being. She fired everyone so her P&L looks good with the low wages from the newbies coming in. So she can collect much more money in a bonus. She is all about herself she cares about no one else but Melissa. I hope karma finds her some day for what she did to everyone that worked up there.

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