Crimson Lion is an area success with exotic hookah and live performances

Michael Wintermute, Staff Writer

While college students all around the Wilkes-Barre area have been watching businesses and shops close down, the Crimson Lion remains a steady place for them to relax.

Though many local business owners have been forced to adapt their business plans or make cutbacks to accommodate the demanding economy of the W-B area, the Crimson Lion has been a story of improvement.
Owner Mike Pasquini, who started the business in 2010, believes that even when a business is successful, there is room for improvement.

Whether it is better-tasting coffee or exotic new hookah tobacco (known as shisha), constant progress is large part of Pasquini’s business plan.

Starting Monday, Oct. 2, the Crimson Lion will begin opening at 10 a.m. and offering baked Danishes and cookies from a local company, Sweet Little Things. The lounge will also be serving toasted bagels with cream cheese.

“We hope to offer higher quality coffee and snacks for people that have breaks and class early in the morning as well as getting some more business from the local offices,” said Pasquini.

Recently, employees of the Crimson Lion invented new shisha flavors named “Ginger Spice,” which is a mixture pumpkin pie, vanilla and snicker doodle shishas.

They also created a mixture of “Pirate’s Cave” and “Apple Jax” called “Hayes Cave.” According to Pasquini, both are very popular.

Apart from these innovative techniques geared toward the business’ large college demographic, Pasquini also utilizes more basic business strategies, including social networking.

“Initially I was excited to use (Facebook) for the business but then they would not let me advertise anymore because my we’re tobacco related,” Pasquini said. “I got a lot of fans with my first round of advertising that went through and have built upon that. It’s a bit frustrating not be able to buy ads anymore.”

Pasquini also believes the Crimson Lion has had success with live entertainment, which is limited to Thursday night “Open Mic” events and live performances by full bands once or twice a month. According to Pasquini, having live entertainment has created returning customers.

The Crimson Lion is an example of a local business refusing to slow down with the economy. Apart from the aforementioned techniques and modernization, Pasquini hopes to upgrade the Lion even more.

“I’m definitely satisfied but there’s always more improvements and innovations,” Pasquini said.
“The next project will be something to make the place more relaxed when there’s a big crowd of people in there. Something like decorated sheets spanning the ceiling and lighting better suited to the mood of the (Crimson Lion).”