Wolf Administration Highlights Small Business Investments and Support During Tour of Downtown Erie

Erie, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Deputy Secretary Michael Hanna, Jr., highlighted the importance of small businesses in the commonwealth and noted the support the Wolf Administration has provided them during a tour of downtown Erie today.

“Pennsylvania is home to more than 1 million small businesses that employ about 2.5 million workers, and we are celebrating them during this special week,” said Executive Deputy Secretary Hanna. “The Wolf Administration has supported small businesses, their owners, and their employees in many ways to ensure their success and Pennsylvania’s success.”

Executive Deputy Secretary Hanna was joined by Mayor Joseph Schember and others on a walking tour in downtown Erie. The tour celebrated the diversity and impact of small businesses on Pennsylvania’s economy and communities.

The following local businesses were highlighted during the tour in Erie:

  • Flagship City Food Hall – a “community dining room” with nine diverse food vendors and a bar
  • Primo Tailoring – a luxury tailoring service
  • Chippers Seafood and Southern Fusion – a seafood and southern fusion restaurant
  • Purrista Cat Café – a café with cats available for adoption

The Wolf Administration granted $145 million in funding through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program (CHIRP) in support of the hospitality industry, a bucket in which many small businesses fall. This funding provided critical support when the industry needed it most, helping many small businesses stay afloat during a difficult time.

“I am always excited to shop local and support Erie’s small business owners who are the heart and soul of our local economy,” said Mayor Joseph Schember. “Small businesses create a positive energy throughout Erie and generate products and services that make our community unique. Each dollar spent in a local business creates a multiplier effect that goes back into the local economy and helps to create welcoming, vibrant neighborhoods, a world-class downtown and bayfront, and an abundance of family-sustaining jobs.”

“The support I have felt from the community has been unreal,” said Dena Rupp, owner of Purrista Cat Café. “It doesn’t always take big money connections to make a place look and feel amazing. It’s all about the person’s passion and drive. Experience helps, too. Erie was ready for this unique concept just as much as I was!”

As part of Small Business Week, DCED will be visiting local businesses during walking tours in several cities across the commonwealth: Reading (May 2); Bedford (May 3); Scranton (May 4); Erie (May 5); and Zelienople (May 6). The tours are celebrating the contributions small businesses make to the culture and fabric of the communities in which they reside.

Diversity and Impact of Small Businesses in PA
  • 39.4 percent of small business owners are women 
  • 16.6 percent are racial minorities 
  • 4.2 percent are Hispanic/Latino 
  • 6.3 percent are veterans 
  • 13,690, or 88.2 percent, of Pennsylvania firms that exported goods in 2019 were small businesses – and small firms exported goods worth $12.5 billion 
  • For every $100 spent at a small business, $48 goes back into the local economy in which the business is located
State Resources for Small Businesses

DCED and our partner network across the commonwealth offer many resources to help small businesses grow.

Be sure to talk about your favorite local small business on your social media accounts and tag them with #PASmallBiz or #ShopLocal. For more information about Small Business Week, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Penny Ickes, DCED, dcedpress@pa.gov

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