Dentist Brings Same-day Care To Marketplace At Steamtown
SCRANTON — In her new dental office, Dr. Mary Grace Rizzo-Fryzel sees a new kind of patient, one who didn’t visit at her old spot on North Main Avenue: walk-ins.
“We didn’t experience really any foot traffic when we were on Main Avenue,” she said. “Maybe here and there, but nothing like we see here. There’s always people walking the mall.”
Rizzo-Fryzel opened Electric City Dentistry at the Marketplace at Steamtown in December. She left her other location to offer patients better parking.
She got the parking she wanted but didn’t quite expect the bustling, eclectic culture of a mall in a state of reinvention.
Electric City Dentistry’s move marks a major coup for the Marketplace’s revitalization plan.
When owner John Basalyga recruited specialty medical group Delta Medix in 2016, to fill the first floor at the hollowed-out Bon-Ton department store, he laid out a vision for drawing smaller practices and medical offices to the other empty storefronts.
Last month Rizzo-Fryzel brought on a second dentist, Dr. Daniela Campos, and plans to add her brother, Nicholas Rizzo, to the team when he finishes dental school at Temple University later this year.
The trio will see patients in a sprawling new medical office with 15 exam rooms and state-of-the-art dental equipment.
They offer same-day crowns and digital, gentler X-rays. She’s embracing what she described as a fast-changing dental industry, one that tries to make a sometimes anxious patient experience a little less so.
She has nine full-time employees and one part-timer, including hygienists, dental assistants and administrative staff.
The high-tech gear and lots of space mean she can take emergency cases and walk-in cleanings without appointments, and that’s what patients want.
“There’s no time for anybody anymore; that’s the one thing that we’re without,” she said.
Elsewhere at the Marketplace complex, the Iron Horse Movie Bistro could be open in a matter of weeks, said mall General Manager Jenn Warnetsky.
The movie theater closed about a year ago when former management company Phoenix Theaters Entertainment and the mall parted ways. Cosmic Cinemas is the new manager and recently completed its final permits and inspections, Warnetsky said.
At the second-floor Scranton Public Market, indoor vendors are starting to open up their stalls on more days.
At first, most had just weekend hours, but some are expanding.
Tortilleria El Buen Amigo, the popular Mexican stall with fresh-made salsa, is now open on Wednesdays. The Soup Chic and sweet bakery Osborne Specialties recently added Thursday hours.
“We wanted to be a seven-day-a-week market, but we wanted it to be on the tenants’ terms,” Warnetsky said. “We wanted them to come here because they wanted to be a part of it and expand because the demand is there — and that’s what we’re seeing happening now.”
With 14 mostly food vendors now occupying the space, she said artists and makers have been inquiring about renting the vacant stalls.
Basalyga’s method mirrors other malls nationally, emptied by shifting shopper habits and being transformed to medical and technology hubs.
He wants complementary businesses that can piggyback off each other’s foot traffic.
Rizzo-Fryzel’s neighbor might actually feed her new patients.
The young dentist joked that she might leave coupons at Steamtown Sweets, which is directly across the causeway.
The classic-style candy shop opened in August, selling novelty candy from bins, hard-to-find confections and mainstream sweets.
Owner Joe Henselder said he sees increased foot traffic on weekends when families fill up the nearby Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den, in the former Express and Hollister stores.
It was the aquarium’s opening, he said, that led him to open a candy store in the first place.
“It’s kind of a funny situation,” he said about a dentist opening so close to his business. “It’s a shopping mall. We have everybody as our neighbor. Is it ironic that it’s right across the hall? Yeah, I suppose.”
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