One of the great things about living in Erie, PA is that this is a community that thrives on small businesses. Yes, there are the big box stores in town, many of which are located on Peach Street. Yes, people do often order online rather than buying local. But, Erie has a fantastic array of smalls throughout the county, and I am so proud to be one of the small business owners in our area.
My dad was a small business owner, and long before I chose to open my store, I knew the kind of hard work and dedication that went into owning, maintaining, and growing a small business. The smalls aren't there to get rich or go on vacation while someone else runs the day to day. They're people who want to build a life for themselves, to carve out their place in their little corner of the world, and they work incredibly hard. Many of us only see that tiny part of their days allotted to public-facing work. What you don't see are the hours spent outside of the open hours when smalls are balancing their books, attempting to secure inventory, diligently taking care of their social media accounts, working on advertising and promotions, maintaining websites, filling orders, making sure they have enough office supplies to get through the next week or month, cleaning, organizing, thinking and rethinking everything, sometimes making products that they sell, or researching and updating files, making sure the utilties and insurance are paid... and those who have employees have the additional tasks of payroll and benefits. The list is nearly endless. Many of us don't take time off, and if we do, we are probably still doing something related to our business.
Calling small businesses labors of love is cliche, but it's also fairly accurate.
So, I want to give a shout out to some of my fellow small business owners and recognize their hard work:
Iron Stone Meadery in Greene Township is owned by Rich Konkol, his wife, and his friends. I grew up knowing Rich (he was a year ahead of me in grade school), and I know they have all worked incredibly hard to bring their unique meads to the public.
John Melody is a fellow Mercyhurst grad. Although he graduated well ahead of me, his UPick6 restaurants offer some of the most amazing food. If you're out this way on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday--or really any day--stop by Harbor House on Buffalo Road. I highly recommend their pizza, turkey avocado sandwich, and mac and cheese. Seriously great food!
If you are looking for a vetrinarian to take care of your beloved fur baby, consider contacting Hometown Vet in Northeast, PA. They are absolutely amazing. I started taking my cat, Nicodemus there a little more than a year ago, and I am so thrilled with their care, concern, attentiveness, and professionalism.
Mazza Vineyards has been a family favorite for a long time. Their Niagara is a great wine. And, their spiced holiday wine should not be missed; it's particuarly wonderful when warmed and garnished with a cinnamon stick.
Pressed Books is defying the odds by offering a wonderous local bookstore experience. They have such an amazing variety of reading materials and gifts; you really need to check them out.
Herb and Honey bakery sells their baked goods at Urbaniaks (another local staple). If you need good eats, check both of these places out.
Bello's Market has great prices and really fabulous cuts of meat if you're omnivorous.
Greenfield Basket Company is first, a really cool place to visit, and second, has some of the most amazing baskets around. Nearly all of the baskets I use in the shop for display and as shopping baskets came from Greenfield Basket Company.
If you get into an accident, I highly recommend Bates Collision--right across the street from Habetrot's Wheel! They are kind, informative, and fair.
There are so many other smalls I could list, and I wish I had the time and the space to do so. Rather, I will end by asking that you do what you can to support the smalls in Erie--not only on Small Business Saturday, but all year when possible.