Erie Chamber Blog
Monday July 1, 2019 

Meet the newest members of the Erie Regional Chamber!

Please help us welcome the new members to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership who joined the organization in June!

Thank you for your investment. We look forward to working with you!

Our members represent nearly 800 companies in the Erie region. Do you know of a business that could benefit from becoming a member of the Erie Regional Chamber? Refer them to Steve Walters, Member Engagement Manager, for details and information and share with them the link below.

Membership Information

Tuesday July 2, 2019 


Who Did We See in June on Giving You the Business?

In partnership with Lilly Broadcasting, the Erie Regional Chamber sponsors Giving You the Business segments which air weekly on WSEE35 and WICU12 during the 5:30 PM. Monday broadcast and Tuesday mornings in the 6-7 AM. hour. Each segment takes viewers behind the scenes of a local business they may not have a chance to see.

Last months highlighted members:

Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free membership benefit! Contact our office if you would like viewers to see behind the scenes at your business! Email marketing director Nadeen Schmitz, or phone 814-454-7191 x139 to schedule your segment.

Wednesday July 3, 2019 

Submitted by Jim Martin, Erie Times-News

Sponsored by the Erie Times-News and

Are you proud of your business? Maybe you've invested in new equipment. Maybe you have a record of going above-and-beyond when it comes to customer service. Or maybe you just take pride in the jobs you provide here in Erie and the commitment you've made to the community.

Whether you work for or run a business or a nonprofit, there are a lot of ways to demonstrate your Commitment to Erie.

We invite you to tell the story of your business or organization and apply for the 8th annual Commitment to Erie Awards, sponsored by the Erie Times-News and 

This isn't strictly a popularity contest. It's your story that will set you apart. Your entries will be judged by a team of judges made of journalists from the Erie Times-News and past and current faculty of areas universities. 

Finalists and winners will be honored at a banquet to be held Sept. 19 at Erie's Bayfront Convention Center. Winners, who will be judged in separate categories for small and large businesses, will be presented with original pieces of artwork commissioned by the Erie Times-News.

Whether you are a new business or an old one, we want to hear how your story. 

But time is running out. The deadline for applications is July 5. 

Please send applications to For questions, contact business writer Jim Martin at 870-1668.

Friday July 5, 2019 
Tuesday July 9, 2019 

submitted by Colleen Campbell, ERCGP Intern

Neighborhood organizations are restoring vibrancy to the city’s foundation. Business, nonprofit, political and community leaders are coming to the table, hosting a People’s Supper to discuss an inclusive future. Entrepreneurs and innovators from all backgrounds are strengthening the pulse of our business ecosystem while Opportunity Zones create hope for a burst of investment in projects that will uplift our beloved neighborhoods. Erie has so much potential to be a place of equality, prosperity, and growth.

But, our city has such a long way to go.

My name is Colleen Campbell and I grew up attending Erie’s Public Schools, taking Sunday rides around the dock, and shoveling snow out of the end of my driveway every time that the plows had passed.  I am a recent graduate of Gettysburg College with a strong interest in economics, public policy, and the well-being of residents of the city. In the fall, I plan to attend law school, so I may learn a bit more about community development processes. I absolutely love Erie, and I believe in its ability to move forward in a way which surpasses precedent.

Community progress across the country is one of my favorite topics to research, however, it does little for our city if it is not contextualized among our challenges. How do other cities mitigate and reverse negative population trends? What does it take to foster the development of a talented and passionate workforce? How may our city serve residents equitably through development practices?

Throughout the remaining months of my summer internship with the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, I hope to share some interesting findings with you on some of Erie’s most intriguing development questions. However, above all else, I’d like to share some pretty candid frustration with our obstacles, excitement for our progress and potential, and my passion for our city.

Wednesday July 10, 2019 

July event hosted by The Cork 1794

Our July morning networking event was held yesterday at The Cork 1794 in the West Erie Plaza. It was a great day to meet and mingle and make connections on their newly opened patio at the restaurant. 

A little about our host. The Cork 1794 is just one of three restaurants owned and operated by Red Letter Hospitality. The Cork opened in December of 2018 and the patio officially opened 2 weeks ago. On top of the awesome atmosphere and great food, The Cork also has three separate rooms for private events. The Erie Regional Chamber actually held the graduation ceremony for the Spring Class of Erie Ambassadors in one of the rooms in May. Remember The Cork for your next corporate or private event!

What we learned about a few of our members:


Thank you again to Anne, Billy, and the team at The Cork for your warm welcome for our members and guests!

Friday July 12, 2019 


Friday July 12, 2019 

On Board Balance

This week we partnered again with ATHENA Erie for the second in the ATHENA Speaks series. Christy Uffelman, President of Align Leadership, served as the keynote speaker and lead the powerhouse panel discussion which included Tina Donikowski, Khadija Horton, and Tim NeCastro.

Attendees heard great information and suggestions regarding getting on paid boards. We also circulated a white paper with data on board balance in the Erie region.

Thank you to all who attended, to our speakers, and to our host the Jefferson Educational Society. We look forward to continuing the discussion!

Monday July 15, 2019 

submitted by Kiara Carniewski, Marketing Communications & Event Manager,

Junior Achievement Western PA 

Junior Achievement's Celebrating Success

Do you know a hardworking, inspiring, and young entrepreneur from Erie County? Are they deserving of recognition for all they have accomplished? Junior Achievement (JA) wants to know who you think deserves to be honored at the annual Celebrating Success cocktail reception and awards ceremony! 

2019 marks the 6th year JA has recognized and showcased two entrepreneurs from Erie County. Don’t worry—entrepreneurs in the making are eligible, too! Individuals who have made, or are positioned to make, outstanding contributions to the business, social, and cultural assets of Erie can be nominated. Other criteria for honorees include:

  • Commitment to mentoring and advocating for youth
  • Demonstrate entrepreneurship
  • Demonstrate leadership in a professional career
  • 40 and under 

Honorees must be able to attend the event on Thursday, November 7th, 2019 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum. They must also become involved with Junior Achievement whether it be as a classroom volunteer, donor, or potential board/committee member.

Go to to make your nomination! Nominations close August 10th, 2019. Awardees will be announced August 30, 2019.

Junior Achievement’s purpose is to inspire and prepare young people in a global economy. Students are taught curriculum, free of charge to them, consisting of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. JA is the largest organization in the nation that is dedicated to giving students the support to own their economic success, prepare for the future, and have the ability to make intelligent choices in both school and in life.

Tuesday July 16, 2019 

Our Host will be the United Way of Erie County

Join us for our next morning networking event at the United Way of Erie County located at 420 West 6th Street.

  • Be prepared with a 2-minute presentation about YOUR business or programs
  • Bring marketing materials to share with other attendees
  • Expect quality networking with other Erie Regional Chamber members
  • Don't forget your business cards!
  • Coffee and light breakfast treats to be served

This event is FREE to ERCGP members, but space is limited to 30 guests and pre-registration is required. If you have attended a Connect 4 Coffee event in the past, preference will be given to those members who have not attended previously.


Wednesday July 17, 2019 

Submitted by Colleen Campbell, Intern, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

3 Talent Attraction Strategies to Consider

I remember walking into Voodoo in December with a small group of friends. We were all home for winter break, and as we headed into our final semester of college, we couldn’t stop talking about our post-graduation plans.

Since then, my friend Abby has remained in Erie to complete the nursing program at Gannon University. The other two, however, are now long gone—having accepted incredible job offers in Washington, DC.

Many of us look at Erie and wonder why more college graduates aren’t coming back. Research suggests that this age group of residents is particularly important to attract, however, Erie has done little to engage us in networking and career opportunities before we have made the decision to leave. Personally, I love Erie and I could never see myself spending the rest of my life anywhere else; this city and its people have so much to offer. However, this isn’t the case for every 22-year-old.

Coming out of my freshman year at Gettysburg College, I was fortunate enough to have made a contact a Knox Law, leading to my first internship. After that, however, I relied on cold-calls and the generosity of Erie businesses and non-profits to allow me to spend my summers working downtown. I knew that I wanted to build a career here, but for students that are still unsure, it is much easier to relocate for internships in Philadelphia, Boston, or Baltimore, accepting a grant from their institution to cover summer living expenses.

The truth is, while Erie offers extensive support to members of the business community through programs such as Young Erie Professionals and Business After Hours,  it does little to attract and include students who have not yet established their five-year plan. In other words, a number of undecided students may easily be persuaded to look for work in Erie (or elsewhere), provided a network of opportunities and assets within the city are marketed to them.

Below are three talent attraction strategies that have served to enliven local workforces across the country. I challenge our community to consider an active role in bringing college graduates back to Erie, remembering that scholars including economists, computer scientists, and historians are resources that a city must compete for.

  1. Conduct Research

In recent years, Erie has extensively researched, analyzed, and utilized workforce data, however investigation on this matter may be extended to include an emerging generation of residents.  Perhaps there is value in surveying local students as they prepare to move forward from high school or to check in with them and offer support if they have decided to leave for college.

In 2015, the Metro Atlanta Chamber funded an initiative to extensively research the perception of the region among the workforce, examining the variation in perspective among differing ages, genders, and races of residents, and non-locals. When a city takes action to understand the perspective of its existing and potential residents, it is better able to cater to the members of the workforce that it seeks to attract.

  1. Connect Students and Organizations

Career development begins with experience. As early as high school, students may consider whether a city provides prospects for them to learn and grow, and it is the job of the community and local organizations to compete with experiences that are available elsewhere.

The Youth Development Institute of New York City has established a successful Career Internship Network in which members, including a variety of cultural institutions such as museums, libraries, and historical societies, offer experiential opportunities to local high school students. This kind of program not only serves to create a talented workforce but also initiates connections and inspires individuals to build a future in a community in which they have established their roots. In Erie, this may expand to include internship opportunities with local firms for local high school students, Erie graduates attending schools locally and across the country, and non-local college students studying in Erie.

  1. Compete!

Research suggests that above all else, young people value community quality and affordability when choosing a place to live. Fortunately, these may both be considered two of Erie’s greatest assets! While in the past Erie has made extensive efforts to advertise to professionals looking to relocate, organizations may consider actively reaching out and marketing to local college students as a strategy of population retention.

Pittsburgh, PA has been acknowledged in multiple studies for its ability to attract new, young residents on premises of its affordability and exciting night life. In addition, the city has been highlighted for its ability to bring back “Boomerang” residents who left Pittsburgh to build their careers, but return for opportunities to work, purchase a home, and participate in the community.

For over 20 years, the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project has served to create an inclusive and engaging community, offering jobs, a calendar of activities available to the public, and a strong policy position for positive and equitable growth. This is however just one of many thriving organizations in Pittsburgh, which offers messages and opportunities in support of younger voices.  

With its thriving non-profit and philanthropic atmosphere and a cost of living which is nearly 19 percent less expensive than that of Pittsburgh (a city which has been identified as one of the most affordable places to live within the country), the city of Erie has unbelievable potential to compete with larger cities. The future of our workforce, however, depends on our ability to market community assets to individuals looking for a place to develop a career.

Thursday July 18, 2019 

submitted by George Kilbert, Corporate Marketing Manager, Scott Enterprises

The new was developed in partnership with WeCreate

Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort recently unveiled their brand new website, which is now accessible at!

The new site offers guests a refreshed experience with simpler navigation, simplified booking processes, a more responsive layout and a media-rich resource. With the investment in this enhanced website, Splash Lagoon hopes to increase online conversion rates, driving more tourism to the year-round destination and to the Erie area.

The new site was developed in partnership with another local business, WeCreate. Located within Erie’s Renaissance Building, WeCreate designed the site with attention to consistent branding, search engine optimization and ease-of-use.

To introduce the new site, Splash Lagoon has launched a special engagement campaign on social media, “Find Fin & Win!” The campaign encourages fans of Splash Lagoon to explore the new website while searching for a variation of the Splash Lagoon Mascot, Fin, who is adorned with a special design inspired by the classic “Where’s Waldo” series.

Those who find Fin can then access a hidden contest entry form for a chance to win an Overnight Getaway to Splash Lagoon!

With the launch of the new website, Splash Lagoon has also launched a blog which showcases the waterpark’s numerous visitor programs and community outreach initiatives, including Fin’s Friends. A program created with Erie’s Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Fin’s Friends provides young patients with the opportunity to visit Splash Lagoon for a fun and memorable experience with their families, while bringing attention to the life-saving programs available to children at Shriner’s Hospital.

Built in a partnership by locally-owned businesses, the new will further showcase great facilities within the Erie Area to potential visitors with a more direct connection to the VisitErie website, highlights of nearby attractions and enhanced overnight package upgrade opportunities, which include the ability to bundle admission to Waldameer Amusement Park or the Erie Zoo with a visit to Splash Lagoon.

Splash Lagoon is owned & operated by Scott Enterprises, a family-owned hospitality company which is also located in Erie, PA.

Friday July 19, 2019 

Quit Talking

Friday July 19, 2019 

At the Impressive Hagerty Family Event Center

Our July business-building event was hosted at the Hagerty Family Event Center.

Wow! What a great facility! We toured the state-of-the-art athletic building which includes the Joann Mullen Gymnasium, the David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center with 2 pools, one for warm-ups and one for competition, a spacious weight room and the Dollinger Field.

Delicious hors d'oeuvres were prepared by Food First Culinary, a subsidiary of Curtze Food Service.

There was plenty of time for networking between the tours as well.

Thank you Hagerty Family Events Center for being such gracious hosts!


Monday July 22, 2019 

Meeting Business Owners Closer to Home

Is your business...

planning to expand?
- purchasing new equipment?
- ready to hire new people?
- in need of assistance with utilities?
- facing challenges or threats to continued growth?
- ready for a more robust marketing strategy?

These challenges are only a few of the scenarios our outreach specialists assist businesses with throughout Erie County. If any of them apply to you, then consider connecting with our Business Action Team. 

The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership's Business Action Team will be on the road throughout Erie County over the next six weeks. The purpose of "road show" is to meet business owners closer to home and provide access to the information, education, and people that can assist local businesses in their continued success.   

"Our job is to know the ins and outs of the local economic development system so that business owners do not have to waste time researching the programs and services designed to help them succeed," said Lesley Ridge Allen​, business outreach specialist with the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. "We want to create a 'drop-in' environment where business owners can get immediate solutions and answers to their questions without stepping away from their business for too long."

The Business Action Team will be available for one-on-one consultations with business owners, general managers, and individuals interested in starting a business. There is no requirement for businesses other than that they operate within Erie County. Chamber membership is not required.

Interested parties are encouraged to secure an appointment (though one is not required to participate) via an online scheduling tool. The team will host open office hours from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on the following days:

  • July 18: Fairview and Millcreek
  • July 25: Harborcreek, Wesleyville, and Lawrence Park
  • July 29: Girard and Lake City
  • August 6: Edinboro and McKean
  • August 7: Waterford and Union City
  • August 8: City of Erie
  • August 12: North East - Hours 9am - 3pm this visit only
  • August 13: Albion, Cranesville, Springfield
  • August 14: Greene and Summit Townships
  • August 27: Corry

For locations in each community, please visit the "Business Action Team Road Show" on our Facebook page for details. 

About the Business Action Team 
The Business Action Team is the business retention and expansion program for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. The team works alongside the Chamber staff to ensure businesses within Erie County have access to the people, education, and information needed to succeed. It's run in partnership with the Northwest Commission and the Department of Community and Economic Development in Pennsylvania. Businesses do not need to be Chamber members; any business operating within Erie County is able to take advantage and can schedule a one-on-one meeting at any time. 

Don't want to wait? No problem! Schedule a meeting with an outreach specialist anytime online:

Check out the news coverage from our first road show last week from WICU/WSEE.

Tuesday July 23, 2019 

submitted by Pamela Marlow, Public Relations Coordinator

Better Business Bureau Serving Western Pennsylvania

Encouraging and supporting ethical business practices is a key purpose of the Better Business Bureau. The Torch Awards for Ethics (Torch Award) honors companies whose leaders demonstrate a high level of personal character and ensure that the organization's practices meet the highest standards of ethics. These companies generate a high level of trust among their employees, customers and their communities. The BBB Torch Award embodies the Better Business Bureau mission of advancing marketplace trust. 

If your company not only holds these business standards in high regard but also acts on them, you could be eligible for the BBB Torch Award for Ethics: 

  • Build Trust - Establish and maintain a positive track record in the Erie marketplace.
●     Advertise Honestly - Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.
●     Tell the Truth - Honestly represent products and services.
●     Be Transparent - Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business.
●     Honor Promises- Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.
●     Be Responsive - Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
●     Safeguard Privacy - Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud.
●     Embody Integrity - Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity.

The Torch Award is open to all for-profit companies with headquarters located within the 28 county service area of the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania (Erie, Warren and Crawford counties included) and meet the guidelines.

If you know an ethical business in Erie that is deserving of this award, place your nomination here. The deadline for nominations is the end of day Friday, August 9, 2019.

Wednesday July 24, 2019 

Join Us at the Erie International Airport on August 15th

The Erie Regional Airport Authority cordially invites you to experience the new and improved terminal at Erie International Airport. You will have an opportunity to see terminal enhancements including new flooring throughout, new seating, tables with built-in power in the lobby and business center, and the Airport's new food concessionaire at Presque Isle Bar + Grill, Gem City Gifts, and Lake Erie Coffee. The Erie Regional Airport Authority has partnered with FastSigns as the airports new advertising concessionaire. FastSigns is rolling out a new program to feature the best of Erie.

  • Enjoy a variety of beverages and hors d'oeuvres provided by Presque Isle Bar + Grill
  • Parking is available in the long- or short-term parking lots. Fees are posted at lot entrances or on the airports' website

Register Now

Friday July 26, 2019 
Thursday July 25, 2019 

Ribbon Cutting Held Today in Celebration

It is time to check out the newly renovated Molly Brannigan’s

Red Letter Hospitality hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at Molly Brannigan’s to celebrate their re-opening with an updated look and menu. 

The $500,000 project had several goals – refresh the décor and seating which had grown tired since the Irish pub opened almost 20 years ago, and ready it for a starring role in downtown Erie’s renaissance.  The new design was careful to honor all the existing wooden structures including the massive bar moved over from Ireland while adding some truly special new elements. 

The menu, which was revamped shortly after Red Letter Hospitality purchased the restaurant in 2018, now includes an Express Lunch Menu. Served Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the menu now includes an Express Lunch Menu designed to get weekday diners in, out and back to work.

Red Letter Hospitality is a management company created by business partners, Billy Lewis and Greg Brown. The company, which includes The Cork 1794, the newly renovated Molly Brannigan’s, The Skunk and Goat Tavern, and several CoreLife Eateries, is headquartered in North East and employs 250.

Congratulations! Way to grow!


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