Sundance Vacations Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Company marks 25 years of service to consumers in the travel and leisure market.

Sundance Vacations, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is a leading provider of destination-based travel options across the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary of operations this month. More than two decades of expertise has transformed Sundance Vacations from a new venture with big ideas into a successful travel company with an equally bright future.

In 1991, Sundance Vacations co-founders John and Tina Dowd had worked in the travel industry for a number of tina-and-johnyears.  After seeing the limitations of certain vacation companies, the Dowd’s decided to change the way that the industry worked, by providing affordable travel options to the masses. Clearly that idea has proven a successful one as the company has grown from just two employees working from their home to a travel-industry leader that employs over 400 people across 10 offices throughout the nation with 150+ of those jobs in our area. Sundance Vacations services tens-of-thousands of consumers yearly who rely on their expertise and travel knowledge to deliver the best vacations for their families.

The company’s idea was, and still is, a simple one: providing amazing destinations and quality vacation experiences for less.  Essentially, allowing consumers to buy their vacations in bulk to help lock in a price that will save them money for years to come.  And let’s face it, Americans love saving money.

“We at Sundance Vacations are so thankful to our many customers and employees for making this anniversary possible,” said John Dowd, CEO of Sundance Vacations. “Their feedback has shaped our company through the years, and their faith in our our ability to deliver the highest-quality vacations has sustained us.  We look forward to continuing to serve our valued customer for many years to come.”

For more information about Sundance Vacations, visit their website at:, or follow them on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Sundance.Vacations.bigAbout Sundance Vacations
Sundance Vacations is a national travel company that specializes in wholesale-vacation accommodations. The company is headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and maintains offices in New Jersey, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and four call centers located in Northeastern Pa.  Formally, in 2015, the company has been named to the Best Places to Work list in New Jersey (#12-2015 and #21- 2016), Illinois (#9) and Pennsylvania (#21).   Sundance Vacations President, John Dowd, was nominated by employees as one of the highest ranking CEO’s (#8) through a Glassdoor review survey with a 95% approval rating.  The small company executive shared the honor with notable CEO giants from Apple and Facebook; Tim Cook and Mark Zuckerberg.  The company has been honored as one of the Fastest-Growing Travel Companies in Pennsylvania by Inc. 500/5000.

America’s Best Communities Update: Arts Entertainment

“I really believe this area has something to offer for everyone, and I would like to think the Kirby Center is one of those options. Our mainstream programming has grown in recent years to the point where people no longer have to drive to New York or Philadelphia to see some of the big name acts, because the Kirby Center is now bringing those acts to Wilkes-Barre.”-Will Beekman, Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

Watch below as Will Beekman discusses the F.M. Kirby Center’s focus on arts and entertainment, and how this contributes to Wilkes-Barre being America’s Best Community.

Check back NEXT Friday for our upcoming full length video on how Greater Wilkes-Barre is becoming a regional center for arts, culture, dining, and entertainment.

Thanks to the support of Frontier Communications and our local sponsor Scripps Network Interactive, the City of Wilkes-Barre was recently named a Quarterfinalist in Frontier Communications’ competition designed to identify America’s Best Community.

MEMBER IN-FOCUS: F.M. Kirby Center

Written by Chamber Intern Meghan Flanagan READ HER BIO HERE

CSC_0591F.M. Kirby Center Executive Director Will Beekman and Director of Operations Drew Taylor hosted a backstage tour and talk for the Chamber of Commerce Interns, contributing to the interns’ weekly experiential activity.

During the tour, Drew Taylor explained the history of the F.M. Kirby Center building, and guided the interns through the layout of the theater, explaining how it has evolved since its transition from a movie theater to a performing arts center.


Perhaps the most complicated and intriguing aspect of the F.M. Kirby Center is its various names. Drew Taylor explained that throughout the years, from its opening in 1938 present day, the theater has had three different titles. The F.M. Kirby Center was first known as the Comerford Theater.

It became the Paramount Theater in the late 40’s, when the government broke up Comerford’s chain of theaters. To complicate this further, another theater opened across the street from the Paramount, and took the name Comerford. The Paramount name changed again in the 70’s in honor of the Kirby Family, who donated a large amount of money in order to keep the theater open.

The tour included the main theater area, where Drew Taylor spoke about the changes that took place when the theater became the F.M. Kirby Center. The seats were replaced entirely by new, larger chairs, and a two stories were added to the top of the stage house because high ceilings were needed for the movement of scenery and lighting.


Despite these changes, many aspects of the theater are original, and maintain the building’s historical roots. All of the decorative plaster, brass doors, and some of the lighting, particularly the use of Lumaline bulbs, are original.


The interns were able to see the downstairs dressing rooms, where performers can stay and shower, and the laundry room, where travelling acts can care for their costumes. The tour ended in what is now the gallery area, used for catering and pre and post show receptions. Drew Taylor explained that this room was a nursery in 1938, a place where parents could leave their children to play while they watched a movie.


Executive Director Will Beekman spoke to the interns about the art of marketing and booking performers, and how that process is a delicate balance act between offering a price that agents will be excited about, while still being able to practically satisfy the needs of the business.

The F.M. Kirby Center invests $40,000-50,000 yearly in events that support its mission. Will Beekman says “We do a Classical Arts Series every year because that is part of our mission. I would like to say that is what makes us the Kirby Center, doing events like the opera, world music, modern dance, ballet.”

The F.M. Kirby Center supports this mission, as well as its overall operation, by the aid of donors, the recruitment of members, grants, and by booking popular performance acts.


Want to become a Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber Intern?
Apply NOW for Summer 2015 at!

MEMBER IN-FOCUS: Northeast Cartage


Northeast Cartage turns trash into reusable treasure for nearly 15 years. They are a local waste and recycling company.  Northeast Recycling Solutions owns and operates a state of the art single stream recycling facility in Hanover Township, the only one of it’s kind in Northeast PA. The facility buys and processes cardboard, newspaper, printers waste, plastic, aluminum and steel cans from a five county region.  The facility also handles large volumes many warehouses and distribution centers throughout the region.


“My cousin, Angelo Medico, and I had begun working together in the early 1990’s,” says co-founder, Frank Nockley, “We found our scrap metal customers wanted us to handle their waste removal.”  In 2000, Northeast Cartage was started to having one vendor to fit all their needs. “We had studied for many years the growth and success of single stream recycling throughout the nation.” Nockley found that there wasn’t anything like it in northeast PA. So the company invested an a rapid expansion and today they are running nearly around the clock.


Nockley described Northeast Cartage’s successes as “two-fold”. Not only do they provide sustaining jobs and a state of the art recycling facility to the area, but their plant is constructed on a former coal waste site. Now the site has been reclaimed and is back on the tax rolls providing high quality, family sustaining jobs.

“Our industry provides a service that everyone needs, ” added Nockley, “It certainly isn’t glamorous but it provides many sustaining year round jobs while helping us to preserve our environment.”

Northeast Cartage LLC & Northeast Recycling Solutions specializes in the logistics, processing and brokerage of waste and recyclables.  The logistics division, Northeast Cartage, provides commercial, industrial and residential roll-off container services, regional dry van, walking floor, flatbed and dump trailer service. 

Author:  Britton Heim
Intern, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber

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