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Holly Pilcavage of Coal Creative – Why NEPA? image
November 10, 2020
Holly Pilcavage of Coal Creative – Why NEPA?

“If you have an idea, if you have a passion, if you believe in it and you’re okay with it being a little hard at times, this is the place to do it.”

Alaska and Hawaii are the last two places that Holly Pilcavage has to visit in order to see all 50 states in America. She’s lived from coast to coast, from laidback California to fast-paced New Jersey. And although she still has plenty of exploring ahead of her, she’ll always call NEPA “home.”

Holly is currently the CEO at Coal Creative, a marketing agency in her hometown of Wilkes-Barre. She has spent the last four years growing the company into a strong community presence, and her work earned her the title of “Influencer of the Year” at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber’s 2019 Young Professionals Awards. She’s tackled some pretty awesome side projects too, like directing and producing the NEPA-based short film, blackhole., and helping people share their life stories through Project Wednesday.

Holly is a supporter of all things local, whether she’s shopping at the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market or working with nonprofits like Dress for Success Luzerne County and the NEPA Rainbow Alliance. She is currently serving on the forefront of Boost Business NEPA, an initiative to help local businesses and nonprofits recover from the economic struggles of COVID-19.

We sat down with Holly to talk about why NEPA is the perfect place to chase down your dreams.


How long have you lived in NEPA?

I moved back to NEPA four years ago, in October 2016. Prior to that, I was living in a few other states for a few years, but I am born and raised in this area. I graduated from Coughlin in 2008. I went up to the University of Scranton for college until 2012. Then between 2012 and 2016, I did some exploring.

What did you miss most about NEPA?

My family first. That was definitely a big thing and one of the main, driving factors that brought me back in the first place. My sister started having children, and I wanted to be closer as an auntie. And you’re surrounded by these beautiful mountains. I was living in New Jersey right before moving back home. I definitely missed being able to be somewhere city-like, but twenty minutes down the road, there’s camping, hiking and all of those things.

What brought you back to NEPA?

Ultimately, it came down to family and an opportunity that I was presented to start working at Coal Creative. Before I came here and worked for Coal Creative, I was working as a Medical Billing Specialist. I was an Account Manager for a gastroenterologist in New Jersey. So it was a totally different life that I was living.

What do you love about your town?

There really is a community here. You can be on your own path, but any step of the way, any corner you turn, there’s going to be somebody there that you can connect with that’s going to help you. I can’t tell you—especially throughout the past four years at Coal Creative and getting re-acclimated to the area—the amount of lunch meetings or coffee meetups that I’ve had where there was no expectation tied to anybody. They just wanted to listen. They wanted to see how they could help. They wanted to give advice. And it was without even really knowing one another. Everyone is just so willing and giving.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

That’s tough. I don’t want anyone to be mad at me, because I have different favorites for different reasons. I’m at Franklin’s four days a week after work, even just to grab a dollar slice. Then right across the way, Canteen Park, just because Abby [Singh, owner of Canteen Park] is a great friend, and I love what they’re doing over there.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Definitely things outside. I spend the summers at Thomas Farm down in Drums almost every weekend to cut flowers. I go to any of the state parks to hike. Then when it’s snowing, I sit in my windows and watch it fall and cover the mountains.

What’s next for you?

I feel like I’m still pretty new in the technical role of CEO, so I have plans to stay here for at least a little bit longer. We’re doing a lot of good things, setting a really firm foundation and building our community partnerships. If you asked me last year, I’d be talking about the next big project, but right now with the pandemic, I’m just trying to turn inwards and work on that personal development and growth and go on women’s retreats and make sure that I’m being nourished.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

Upwards and onwards. I know the pandemic set a lot of things back, especially the small businesses and nonprofits in the area, which is really scary. But if any community can pull through and come out stronger on top of it all, I know it’s ours. I do think that I’m seeing more collaboration in all realms, not just in marketing. People aren’t using the word “competitor.” You see more and more of the chambers of commerce coming together. We have to think big picture here, and we have to lift everyone up. I see that continuing to progress in 2021 and beyond.


I think I can sum it up with the simple statement of it’s home. I’ve done a lot of traveling. I can go other places, get inspired, see what other places are doing and bring it back here. Anything is possible here, especially when you’re really determined and you can get a few other people to stand up with you. If you have an idea, if you have a passion, if you believe in it and you’re okay with it being a little hard at times, this is the place to do it.