Like many others, Shawna Dray found the pandemic changed her life.

Many people who worked in the beauty industry were unable to work for months at the beginning of the pandemic, including Dre, who was an esthetician. She had the added element of caring for her grandparents, who were at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Circumstances forced her to look at her life and what she could do instead.

“I started thinking about what I could do, and whatever it was, it had to light me up,” Dray said.

From there, she got the idea to open it Verdea new store at Broad and Linden Streets in Bethlehem that is dedicated to making life cleaner, greener and more sustainable.

Throughout her life, Dray has turned to nature for solutions. It had always been part of her upbringing to do what needed to be done and use what was there.

Dray also saw an opportunity as more people focused on their health and how they could reduce waste during the pandemic.

When she was about to open her store, she began selecting the products she would offer. She was looking for things that were carbon neutral and would support local entrepreneurs.

What you’ll find at Verde:

  • Lots of all-natural cleaning supplies, including a zero-waste gas station and laundry detergent sheets (no plastic container needed).
  • All natural soaps and personal care products, including the Black Willow line of products (created by a Liberty High School graduate)
  • Goods for pets
  • And lots of handmade items from jewelry to crochet and knitwear.


An attentive reader pointed this out to me The queue at the diner which is located at 162 N. Walnut St. in Bath, closed for renovation. No word on when they plan to reopen.

The restaurant has new management. The Petropoulos family, which has owned and operated the diner for six years, announced their plans to move on in September.

Follow them on Facebook for updates if you’re a fan of the restaurant:

Two chain restaurants are under construction on South Fourth Street in Allentown.

Chicken Popeye ends on the site of the former “Shashki” restaurant, 1935 S. Chatvyrty, next to the Central Railway Station. Nearby Taco Bell is being built next to Wells Fargo Bank.

Bravo! italian cuisine, anchor in the outdoor lifestyle center of the Lehigh Valley Mall, is closed again, and apparently for good.

Bravo! The Italian kitchen was removed from the mall’s catalog and marked as permanently closed on social media.

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As you may recall, the restaurant, part of a national chain, was closed for more than a year at the start of the pandemic as its parent company went bankrupt and was later sold. The Whitehall Township restaurant reopened last October.

It didn’t take long for something to fill the space left by the departure of Radish Republic at ArtsWalk in downtown Allentown.

A new boutique focused on small business, A little local is slated to open Nov. 1 in the space formerly occupied by Radish Republic at 27 N. 7th St.

A Little Bit Local owner LeeAnn Bower strives to offer a wide variety of unique handmade items from small businesses throughout the Lehigh Valley and region, all under one roof. Her curated line of products will offer a little bit of everything from spices to soaps. She also has several well-known retailers, including Easton Candle Co., Barkley’s Bakery and Funny Farm Apiaries.

Stay tuned for updates on this new campaign.


I can’t be everywhere in the Valley, and I’ve gotten so much great advice since starting this column. Please keep sending and reading! Email: and include “Retail Watch” in the subject line.