The Strange and Unusual: Northeast PA’s Hidden Treasure

Have you ever seen Beetlejuice? If you have, you’ll remember when Lydia Deetz said “I, myself, am strange and unusual” And nestled away in the heart of Northeast PA sits the real life incarnation of that. The Strange and Unusual, convienently located 5 miles outside of Wilkes-Barre, and 22 miles from Scranton, this quaint shop draws in crowds from all areas. And that’s just one location! The second location sits just in the heart of Philadelphia, about 100 miles from the first location! The Kingston location is also now home to a witchy, Harry Potter inspired coffee shop, ‘Steamy Hallows’ which is based in New York. But, who is the mastermind behind one of Northeast PA’s most fabulous hidden treasure? The answer is none other than Josh Balz, a lifelong Northeast PA native, and former Keyboardist of metalcore band ‘Motionless in White’. Alonna was able to catch up with Josh for a couple of questions on August 1st, during his Eddie Munster meet and greet event at The Strange and Unusual, and here’s what he had to say.

A: Thank you for taking time from your busy day to talk with me!
J: It’s no problem!

A: So what made you want to start ‘The Strange and Unusual’?
J: Well, to put it simply, it started off with just my own collection of oddities and antiques. I love them, and it got to the point where I just had way too much stuff and I thought it would be an awesome idea to sell them in a one-of-a-kind store!

A: Is this the first kind of “Oddities” store you’ve seen? I know I haven’t seen any within this area.
J: I mean, I’ve seen others that focus on one specific item, or theme, and I think a major reason why my store does so well is because I mixed everything together. I wanted to offer everything, from clothing, to furniture, to decor, to taxidermy, I wanted it all to be in one place. 

A: What made you want to add the coffee shop?
J: This building is a new location, and ever since we have been at this building, I always thought that this one corner of the store needed something else, aside from the usual antiques. It’s too small of a space to serve food in, so I figured coffee would definately help to bring more people out and add a ‘brightness’ to the store, which it did!

A: How did you get Butch Patrick(Eddie Munster) to do a signing?
J: They actually reached out to me! They sent me an email saying they were going to be traveling through the area and would love to do something at the store that they have been hearing so much about at other signings and events. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Munsters so obviously I jumped at the opportunity!

A: Well, it surely did bring a huge crowd in! That’s all for questions! Thanks so much!
J: You’re most welcome!

In addition to the Butch Patrick meet and greet, The Strange and Unusual also hosted California based rock band “New Years Day” for an exclusive, intimate, acoustic performance at the store on July 3rd. The event was sponsored by local rock station 97.9x and saw a huge influx of fans for both the set and the meet and greet that followed after. 

No matter what you’re into, whether you’re just here for the coffee, or here to shop around for antiques you wouldn’t find anywhere else, or maybe you’re here to see your favorite actor or band in a small, intimate setting, The Strange and Unusual welcomes you with open arms and makes you feel right at home! Make sure you check them out at one of their locations today! 

Kingston: 467 Wyoming Ave, Kingston (Steamy Hallows located inside) T-Sat, 12pm-8pm, Sunday, 12pm-5pm, closed Mondays! 

Philadelphia: 523 S. 4th St, Philadelphia. Closed Mondays, Tues-Thurs 12pm-7pm, Fri-Sun- 12pm-8pm! 


We were also able to get a short insight as to what it’s like to work in the area’s most awesome coffee shop! We caught up with Jaclin, a barista at Steamy Hallows inside the Kingston store, and here’s what she had to say!

“I love it here, I don’t just have to sling espressos for businessmen, here I get to make people’s day, and that’s the greatest. It’s the best job ever”

Stop by and get a coffee, and shop around at The Strange and Unusual the next time you plan your trip to PA!

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