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Celebrating Women-Owned Erie County Businesses

Tuesday Feb 22nd, 2022

March is Women's History Month and to celebrate, VisitErie is shining a spotlight on four local, and amazing, women business owners.

Purrista 1
Dena Rupp - Purrista Cat Cafe

Purrista Cat Café - Dena Rupp, Owner

Purrista Cat Café is Erie’s newest coffee shop (opened in February 2022), created by cat lover, coffee enthusiast and Erie native Dena Rupp. Ever since encountering her first pet café during her travels, Dena has been committed to bringing a cat café to her hometown.  Purrista Cat Café offers a relaxing social environment in Downtown Erie, serving fine espressos, specialty coffees, teas and pastries while also providing the opportunity for guests to interact with adoptable cats in a clean, stress-free environment. “For me, a female entrepreneur is someone who chooses to go out of her comfort zone, takes risks, and is not afraid to share her experiences, positive or negative, with others. She also supports and lifts up her fellow female friends.”


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Heather Hart - A Compassionate Hart Massage Therapy

A Compassionate Hart Massage Therapy –Heather Hart, Owner/LMT

Owning her own business was always in the back of Heather Hart’s mind while she was working at medical facilities and spas around Erie.  In 2010, she opened A Compassionate Hart Massage Therapy.  Promoted as “Erie's premiere massage therapy and bodywork studio”, A Compassionate Hart is located in (appropriately) the “heart” of Downtown Erie and features three massage rooms with five employees focusing on managing stress to pain relief.  Heather plans to expand her business even more within the next year.  “I think the advantage of being a women business owner is all the community support and help you get from others. I know a lot of people say women have a hard time getting along, but I have found that to be the opposite of the truth among entrepreneurs.

Pineaplpe Eddie Karen Thomas
Karen Thomas - Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro

Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro – Karen Thomas, Owner

Starting a restaurant like Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro was a lifelong dream for sisters Karen Thomas and Adrienne Paul.  After spending fifteen years in the corporate and private sector of the hospitality field, their dream came to life and Pineapple Eddie opened its doors in July 2011.  Since then, it has established itself as one of Erie’s finest local restaurants.  The restaurant’s Haitian and American South inspired menu features items such as shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, griyo (cubed fried pork shoulder), jerk chicken and homemade desserts. “You want to be committed to building a solid foundation and then ‘brick up’ because the trends, distractions and haters are coming.  Even at your weakest moments your ‘bricks’ stand and resist weakness and remind you of your commitment.”  

Kelly Karns Landscape
Kelly Karns - Erie Food Tours

Erie Food Tours – Kelly Karns, Owner

Erie Food Tours is a fun way to experience Erie County’s history and culture, all while sampling delicious local food and drinks.  Since its creation in 2015, Karns and her team take patrons on guided food tours, sharing Erie’s history at local landmarks and historic buildings, while visitors enjoy samples of local cuisine!  Erie Food Tours run May through October in Downtown Erie and the nearby town of North East. “Getting the right people ‘on the bus’ - on your team - is essential to your success.  I have an amazing group of tour guides (all female!) who have carried Erie Food Tours throughout each season and we’re only getting better!  I also collaborate with phenomenal restaurants who give us their best food, drinks, and service at every tour visit.”

Partner Spotlight

bayfront grille

Outdoor Dining at the Bayfront Grille

The Bayfront Grille Restaurant at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel is excited to announce that our Bayside Patio is open for Lunch and Dinner. Please check Open Table for reservations or contact the restaurant directly at 814-454-2005.

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UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 423-bed hospital in Erie, PA, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services, and serves as a regional referral hub and Level II Trauma Center.

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erie events spotlight

Erie Events

Erie Events manages a four facility entertainment complex that includes the Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena, Bayfront Convention Center and UPMC Park. These four venues host a variety of events that include world-class entertainment, family friendly shows and sporting events.

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mazza spotlight

Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

The Mazza family welcomes you to explore 3 unique locations in Lake Erie Wine Country. Sip and savor award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA, and be sure to visit their combination winery, distillery and brewery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, in nearby Westfield, NY.

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millcreek mall

Millcreek Mall

The Millcreek Mall features more than 160 stores, restaurants, and fun for the whole family on Upper Peach Street, Erie’s most popular shopping district! Shopping in Erie means no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Choose from a variety of hotels located on the Mall property and just minutes away at the intersection of Peach Street and Interstate 90.

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the cork

The Cork 1794

The Cork 1794 is the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion! Indoor and outside seating available with amazing food.

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dobbins landing

Dobbins Landing

Located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, the Port of Erie has been promoting industrial, commercial, and recreational opportunities on the waters of Lake Erie since 1959.

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u pick 6 spotlight

U Pick 6 Craft Beer Pubs & Restaurants

Erie’s own local craft beer pubs are a must-visit! With 4 great locations, just pick one that’s convenient for you! A casual, family friendly dining experience with something for everyone! To view our menu, check out what’s on tap, or get to directions to our pubs, learn more now!”

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Corporate Events Port Farms

Port Farms Corporate Events

Treat your employees to a unique, country experience that is sure to inspire with all of the magic the farm has to offer! Located just outside of Erie, Port Farms offers a charming countryside venue for your next company retreat! Our unique space is located on 200 rural acres and includes everything you will need to host a successful work session, work event, or company picnic. Learn more about how we can help you plan the perfect event!

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CartHorse Spotlight 400 x 300


Cart/Horse Distilling is a first-generation woman-owned distillery, pioneering the craft in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Handcrafted care never goes out of style. We put that artistic attention into every bottle of our small batch spirits. Cart/Horse proudly produces rum, whiskey, vodka, gin, and several award-winning specialty liquors. Our robust cocktail menu uses the finest and freshest ingredients for each custom-built drink.

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When you have an opportunity to fly, give Erie a try - support your hometown airport!

Direct daily flights to Charlotte. Erie International Airport is serviced by American Airlines with daily flights to Charlotte with connections to many other destinations.

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spotlgiht the cove

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

Join us today! The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern is sure to give you an unforgettable and care-free dining experience. Enjoy a nautical atmosphere with a beautiful view of Presque Isle Bay.

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