A trip to Germany brought the colors of the world to Scranton.
Luciana Suraci spoke to The Scranton Times in 1986 about how she came to be the local licensee of a Benetton clothing store. Suraci told of a 1983 business trip to Germany with her husband, Anthony, during which she visited a Benetton in Hamburg that was filled with young people shopping. The idea was born to bring a Benetton to the Scranton area.
Suraci got down to business, not only contacting the regional headquarters in Washington, D.C., but also sending letters of intent to the business and hosting company officials to show possible locations for a shop in the area.
After all that, she received a letter from Benetton saying that it was “not interested at the time, maybe later.” This letter did not deter Suraci. She contacted a representative at the regional headquarters and asked why Scranton should not have a store. The representative agreed to review her proposal.
Suraci described what happened next as the hand of fate helping make this business deal happen. The representative was traveling in Bonaire, an island in the Caribbean Sea, and through friends was introduced to a family from Waverly Twp. The family helped convince the representative that Benetton would be a good fit for the Scranton area.
Suraci got her license. The Scranton store opened Saturday, Nov. 23, 1985, at 205 N. Washington Ave. Suraci later opened a second Benetton in Wilkes-Barre on South Main Street in August 1986 and third shop on Main Street in Stroudsburg in May 1987.
Luciano Benetton, co-founder of the company that bears his name, visited the Scranton store in March 1987, during which he spoke to a Times reporter through an interpreter. “You have a well finished city,” Benetton said of Scranton. “There is (a) very good social climate here.” He also said that the Scranton store was doing great.
In 1995, Benetton moved from its original location to a new home at Lackawanna and North Washington avenues. Benetton then left downtown Scranton for a spot on South State Street in Clarks Summit in 2000. The store eventually closed and became the home of Classic Properties in 2013.
At this time, there are no brick-and-mortar Benetton stores in the United States. However, Benetton’s clothes are available for purchase online.
Contact the writer: bfulton@ (timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9140; (@TTPagesPast on Twitter
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 14 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast