In the past year, the Tamaqua area has seen what officials are calling a "surge" in unique businesses.

"“It's taking new life to an empty storefront and bringing something new to our area," said Jennifer Drake, president of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

Since August, two microbreweries and a hair salon have opened shop in Tamaqua. Just last week, Hidden River Credit Union opened its doors in Hometown. The Wheel, a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant already doing business in Pottsville, is expected to open this fall.

“We are absolutely thrilled to death new businesses are seeing Tamaqua as a place to locate,” said Jack Kulp, executive director of the Tamaqua Chamber.

Chamber officials say the area is appealing to employers looking for strong work ethic and community support.

In turn, these new businesses are giving local patrons options.

“Choice in what they want to do and where they want to get their hair cut and buy their groceries and that kind of thing,” added Kulp.

They're also giving people employment opportunities.

"There are more and more jobs coming to the area because we have more and more businesses. It should be good news to everyone,” said Kulp.

At the end of last year, the Tamaqua Area Chamber became an affiliate of the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce, opening up more doors to business owners who choose to set up shop downtown.

"It gives our businesses a greater reach, it gives our businesses greater support," said Drake.

That support comes from access to the county chamber's resources, along with its eight other affiliate organizations.

 "We're adding layer upon layer of exposure to your business and getting people to Tamaqua to do business with you, or with us, through those outlets," added Drake. 

Something else the Chamber says is contributing to business growth in Tamaqua is its summer concert series.

The concerts happen at the train station platform every Thursday evening through the summer and businesses open later at night really see a lot of support during performances.

The 13th concert season will kick off Wednesday, May 29th.