Celebrating Women-Owned Businesses in Erie County
Friday Feb 24th, 2023
The Elsie Greer House Bed & Breakfast – Nanci Haibach, Owner
The Elsie Greer House Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful Victorian-style home nestled in the historic town of North East, PA near Gibson Park. Built in 1865, it is believed to be one of the oldest homes in Erie County and is named for the woman who owned the home after the Civil War. Innkeeper/owner Nanci Haibach invites guests to take a step back in time and experience old-fashioned hospitality surrounded by a 19th century environment of polished carved woods, ornate fixtures, and stately decor. Guests can wake up to the tantalizing aroma of a home-cooked breakfast and for those who need to stay connected, the high-speed internet connection ensures seamless connectivity. An amenity worth checking out is the in-house penny press machine, a delightful attraction that churns out charming images of the picturesque town.
Q: What are the secrets to your success?
A: “The secret to my success is to have a good idea of what people want and expect for the money they spend. Putting out quality for all my guests. My dedication to my personal objective of having a business where I can be creative every day gives me the quality of life I want.”
Monacella Massage & Kinesiology – Missy Hitz, Owner/LMT
Being a young female business owner at the age of thirty presented its challenges, but in 2008 Missy Hitz turned her dream into a reality. For more than 24 years, Missy has been helping people feel better by combining her knowledge of Kinesiology and massage therapy to reduce and even eliminate muscle pain and stress. Monacella Massage is in downtown Erie’s Renaissance Centre and offers clients a variety of massage therapy services including Swedish massage, deep tissue, reflexology, and hot stones.
Q: What does it mean to be a woman entrepreneur?
A: “Being a woman entrepreneur is an honor. Opening a business is an opportunity to empower oneself, contribute to the community and local economy, and inspire others, especially women, to pursue entrepreneurship.”
Painted Finch Gallery and Epiphany’s Emporium – Wendy Neckers, Owner
With a vision of opening a high-end gallery with exceptional art in a small city, artist and owner Wendy Neckers launched the Painted Finch Gallery in 2012 and in 2017, her success expanded next door with Epiphany’s Emporium, a unique hand-crafted gift and collectibles shop. Over the years, Wendy has collected an amazing array of artists who have their work on display at the Painted Finch, while Epiphany's wide selection ranges from leather journals and felted critters to stained glass kaleidoscopes and craft sodas.
Q: What advice would you give to other women who are looking to open their own business?
A: “Consider if you have a market or niche that your business would fill. What makes you unique? How will people find your business and when they do find you, will they want to walk through your doors?"
Donato’s Pizza – Christina Vogel, Owner
With three Erie area Donato’s Pizza locations cranking out hundreds of orders of pizzas, wings, subs, and salads on a daily basis, Christina Vogel tends to wear many hats as she navigates her way through the ups and downs of owning and operating a franchise restaurant. However, her persistence and confidence is paying off as she continues to grow her three stores, provide great jobs with benefits for her employees, produce a quality product with excellent customer service, and establish a connective presence in the community. Donato’s pizza is known for their edge-to-edge toppings, thin and crispy crust, and a range of unique toppings such as smoked provolone cheese, aged brick cheese and a variety of meats that gives its pizza a distinctive taste that customers love.
Q: What is one of your biggest challenges?
A: “I believe the biggest challenge I faced was convincing others I could do it. There are pizza restaurants all over the world and a lot right here in Erie. I have watched many open and close in the past seven years. Understandably, other people questioned the viability of opening three in short succession. I did not take it personally. However, I was also very persistent and confident in my plan.”