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VisitErie Blog


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.

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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

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UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 458-bed hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital serves as a regional referral hub and is the only accredited trauma center in the region.

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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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AHN Saint Vincent- Award-Winning Medical Care

AHN Saint Vincent has been here from the beginning, providing award-winning inpatient and outpatient medical care. Need express care? We’ve conveniently placed AHN facilities on the west and east side of Erie, just walk-in! AHN Saint Vincent is not only recognized locally (Erie’s Choice- Best Hospital) but nation-wide, so you can expect high-quality care, greater safety, and better results.

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Country Fair

We proudly opened our doors in Erie in 1965. A lot has changed between now and then, but our mission remains the same – offer fresh food, from our favorite local brands, at a convenient location. In one stop, you can fill up your gas tank and grab breakfast, lunch, groceries and a bottle of wine or a 6-pack to go. We look forward to serving you and your family during your trip to Erie!

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Fall Events at Peek'n Peak

Join us at Peek'n Peak Resort for a Fall adventure you won't want to miss! From the 35th Annual Fall Fest on October 14-15 and 21-22 to the epic German Beer Fest known as the Wurst Party Ever on November 4 and the hilarious Medieval Feast Dinner Theater on November 10-12 & 17-19, there's something for everyone! Check out our full event schedule and secure your tickets now at

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the cove from the cove site

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

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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bayfront grille

Outdoor Dining at the Bayfront Grille

The Bayfront Grille Restaurant at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel is a relaxed hotel eatery offering American fare all day in a scenic setting with a patio & bay views. Experience a fresh take on casual dining, from breakfast to dinner, with creative menu selections and regional cuisine in our waterfront restaurant. Please check Open Table for reservations or contact the restaurant directly at 814-454-2005.

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Port Farms Winter Spotlight 400 x 300

Winter at Port Farms

Whether you’re searching for the perfect Christmas tree or a place to experience a magical horse-drawn sleigh ride, plan a trip to Port Farms! Join us at Santa’s Workshop every weekend for visits with Santa, live music, crafts, cookie decorating, and holiday food & drinks! We also offer cut-your-own trees, pre-cut trees, freshly made wreaths, holiday décor, and other great gifts throughout the week. Activities are a la carte. Plan an enchanting Christmas experience at Port Farms today! Plus, check out our new brewery, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales!

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814 photo Spotlight 400 x 300

814 Photo

Showcasing the incredible year round beauty of the City of Erie and its surrounding areas, commonly referred to as its area code "the 814". Explore some of Erie County's most breathtaking landscape photography.

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ASCEND Erie - Climbing | Fitness | Yoga

NOW OPEN! ASCEND fosters a community-centered climbing, fitness, and yoga experience by serving individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Located in Downtown Erie, ASCEND welcomes Erie visitors to stop in and give climbing a try!

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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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Dobbins Landing Spring 2022 EB 2

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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Mall Image Spotlight v2

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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