EASTON, Pa. | Months of work happened before Ciao Sandwich Shoppe on North Third Street could open its doors.

Co-owner Frank Luise said the business has been in the works since June.

He said the city helped streamline the opening process, and he and his business partners are excited to be making sandwiches in their hometown.

"At this point we're finally open, we're excited," Luise said. "It's just time to bring back something to the community that it was definitely missing." 

According to Easton's Main Street Initiative, Ciao is one of 21 businesses to open in the city this year and one of 13 to open during the COVID-19 pandemic. 18 businesses have closed this year.

City leaders said a net gain of three new businesses is a success, especially during a time that has thrown so many curve balls.

"We really believe this year more than any year people realize they need to help the small businesses," Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said.

"It's been a really good, easy opening," said Mindy Tomaro of Sonny Daze, a customized specialty store that opened in September on North Fourth Street.

"It's just really friendly, and (Easton is) just a little New York now," Tomaro said. "People keep coming, they walk and they pass by. It wasn't just an option for us, it was a choice that we wanted to be down here." 

"It's been an exciting, slow process...but I've been optimistic throughout it all," said Jamie Brotzman of The Healing and Wellness Corner who also opened on North Fourth Street earlier this summer.

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