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DIY delight: small businesses get creative to keep customers coming back

From local restaurants to ice cream shops, a number of mom and pop places have launched "do it yourself kits" to help keep business going during the pandemic.

The side effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been especially hard on many small businesses.

However, some mom and pop shops in our area have come up with interesting ways to keep their customers.

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey spotlighted a few of them on Tuesday. 

Ryan visited Armetta's Pizzeria & Pub in the New Milford area. 

Sal Armetta owns the place in Susquehanna County. He said when the quarantine hit, he did everything he could to prevent laying off any of his four full-time and 15 part-time employees. 

Sal said one way to make that a success was offering "DIY at Home Pizza Kits" in addition to other specials as a way to keep customers coming in the door. Plus, the DIY kits also provide families with a fun food activity at home.  

It's a similar story for a pizza shop in Bloomsburg.

Joseph Yannone, aka JoJo, owns Tri Pi Pizzeria.

"We're based in a college town. We get a lot of business from them, so that was probably the first hit, you know when college was canceled. The second hit was definitely dining," Yannone said. 

To help make up for lost revenue, JoJo decided to get a little creative and offer "quarantine pizza kits" to his customers. 

JoJo says people throughout Columbia County have been really supportive during these trying times. 

"The community has been overwhelming with the support. I mean, it's really overwhelming, to say the least," added JoJo.

In Luzerne County, overwhelming community support is also helping Udder Delites in Shickshinny.

The businesses had just opened a second location in Scranton when the pandemic hit.

"We were sitting on all of our inventory, and now not only was Shickshinny not opening, but we couldn't open the one at the Marketplace at Steamtown. We were prepared for the St. Patrick's Day weekend. We thought we were going to have crowds galore, and we had nothing," owner Kim McAndrew said.

So, co-owners Kim McAndrew and Bob Jones also got creative and started selling quarantine ice cream kits.

Customers get to choose their ice cream flavors and decorate their own sundae.

"They can do ice cream cones, they can do whatever they want," McAndrew said.

"It's really been a great response to it—more than we could have thought. You know, during this time, we were so worried that we wouldn't be able to keep our doors open going forward," Udder Delites co-owner Bob Jones added.