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BuonaCucina Owner

Shopping Small with BIG Results!

Friday Nov 13th, 2020

Think about what our area would be like if we didn’t have any small businesses.  No more cafes or coffee shops, corner stores, local watering holes or eateries, farmers markets, gift shops, boutique stores, food trucks…none of it.  All gone.  It’s hard to imagine the Erie region like that but then again, none of us would have believed a pandemic would strike and hit all of us hard; mentally, physically and financially.  Local small businesses are among the list of those feeling the effects.  They need our support. 

Here’s why: (source

  • Small businesses give back to our community – When you shop small, you are supporting your own town/community/neighborhood. According to civic economics, “on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% at chains.”
  • Small businesses make a major economic impact. More than half of the U.S.’s jobs since 1995 were created by small business. The more you shop at a local store, the more potential job opportunities you could help them provide.
  • Small businesses provide better customer service. They have the ability to provide more personable, hands-on and memorable customer service.
  • Small businesses provide greater access to product diversity. They have just as much access to vendors that big box stores do. If they don’t have something you’re looking for, chances are they are more receptive to your request and willing to order them for you.
  • Small businesses create a sense of community. You’re much more likely to get to know the owner of a small business in your neighborhood. They create a strong sense of community pride
  • You’re going to feel good. Enough said.

WestEriePlaza Shoppers w Masks


So what can you do to keep our small businesses alive and thriving during these trying times or really, any time?  Get out and SHOP SMALL…not just on Small Business Saturday (this year it’s November 28) but every day.  Be vocal on social media.  Spread the word and share with your friends and followers about a great customer experience or a product that you cannot live without.  Sign up for their newsletter or loyalty program. This shows you have a vested interest in their business and will continue to shop there.  

Our small business retail shops, galleries, theaters, restaurants and more are listed throughout and are also found in our Erie Adventure Guide and the ‘Hello Erie’ app.  To request a copy of our guide, click here

Check out some of our favorite small businesses and
 help support their growth and success!

Buona Cucina Oils & More
1535 West 8th St., Erie PA 16505 (814) 835-6898
Nestled in the heart of Erie, PA,  offering over 48 varieties of the most luxuriant, single-source olive oils, infused olive oils, vinegars, cooking salts and glass cruets to the area. All of their products are of the highest quality, providing a healthy alternative for every palate. With an exceptional complexity of flavors; their oils, vinegars, and salts will enhance your go-to recipes, and inspire you, your family, and your friends to… unlock your taste buds!

Sneaky Pete’s
6116 Swanville Rd., Erie PA 16506 (814) 440-1383
Step back into days gone by! Tiffany Lamps, Waterford Crystal, Natural Wood Burning Fireplace. Serving fantastic food & creative cocktails. Specializing in Imported CharcutERIE! Their dinner menu changes every 2 weeks with cooked from scratch, fresh ingredients protein, poultry, pasta & seafood selections. Pub Menu features appetizers, salads, flatbreads & sandwiches.

Glass Growers Gallery 

Glass growers credit D Tamulonis10 E. 5th St., Erie PA 16507 (814) 453-3758
Established in 1974.  Offering quality & distinction in the form of regional fine art & gifts, curated corporate art installation services, and made-in-America custom awards & gifts. GGG’s staff shares the intention to grow culture, celebrate imagination, & create a vibrant personality to the community.

Lighthouse Jewelers
2230 W. 8th Street, Erie PA 16505 (814) 454-7770
Explore over 4 thousand square feet of unique shopping! Treasures from local artists, custom made Erie souvenirs, Erie jewelry & Erie home accents. A family owned business proudly serving the Erie Area for fine jewelry and repair needs since 1943.

Moose Head Pottery
12775 Donation Rd., Waterford, PA (814) 796-6635
Specializing in handmade one-of-a-kind stoneware beer growlers and other various pottery items such as zombie mugs, vases, plates, bowls, platters, etc. 

Grasshopper Boutique
2518 Peach St. and 2818 W. 8th St. Erie PA (814) 454-9545
Grasshopper was started in 1992 and was voted Best Gift Shop for 5 years in a row (Erie's Choice Award 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Erie Reader Award 2014 and 2015) Unique souvenirs, t-shirts, beach glass jewelry and gifts as well as a selection of oils, incense, candles and locally made products.


The Shops on the Hill
Peach Street between 26th & 24th Streets Erie PA 16502 (814) 882-9854
Live. Shop. Grow. Enjoy a most colorful & unique experience! The Shops on the Hill are found in the historical gateway to downtown Erie. With a renewed zeal for revitalization, this district is comprised of an array of local independently owned small shops & services. The Shops sponsor a variety of community events throughout the year, from artisan fairs and pop up markets to holiday celebrations.

Tootsie Winkles
5613 West Ridge Rd., Erie PA 16506 (814) 315-4001
Local, family owned resale store with the motto "Just because it isn't NEW, doesn't mean it has to look USED." Buying and selling the best brands in gently used and like new Maternity Wear, Kid's Clothes and Shoes, Baby Gear, Cribs and Nursery Furniture, Athletic Equipment, Books, Toys, DVDs along with brand name items. Visit the store and see their large, open layout, one of a kind kid's play area, and private nursing lounge.

Like My Thai
827 State Street Erie PA 16501 (814) 455-1026
At Like My Thai, they bring you the favorites of Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean cuisines, currently interspersed with Chinese and Indonesian. Different from a traditional Thai restaurant, Chef Mike presents his dishes with loyalty to their spirit of their origin. Making everything from scratch with heart and soul.


Icing on the Lake
940 West Erie Plaza Drive Erie Pa 16505 (814) 464-0528
Icing on the Lake is a retail dessert bakery offering a freshly baked selection of cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, macarons, cheesecake on a stick, and many other unique items served in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.


All of the above mentioned partners are taking all the necessary precautions and cleaning protocols to ensure you have a safe experience.  Please check with each small business for updated hours of operation and COVID-19 policies. Always remember to wear your mask and practice social distancing. 

Partner Spotlight

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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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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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Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

The Erie Regional Chamber is leading Erie’s economic evolution through awareness, advocacy, and access to the people, education, and information integral to elevating regional success and economic growth. Become a member today and join us in championing a vibrant and sustainable regional economy.

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Make memories all year at Port Farms!

Bring your family to Port Farms this summer, fall and winter! Port Farms is a fun-filled family destination located in Waterford, PA (30 minutes outside of Erie). The farm features many activities for all ages including a NEW Flower Festival, animal exhibits, slides, pedal carts, wagon rides, 8-acre corn maze, jumping pillows, pumpkin picking, Christmas tree picking, visiting with Santa, and much more. Options for wedding venues, corporate events, birthday parties, and school field trips are also available. To learn more, purchase tickets, or book an event visit

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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

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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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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John Russell Brewing Company Brew House & Restaurant

Local Craft Beer Brewery & Pub in Erie, PA! Featuring a large selection of craft beers, a wood-fired brick oven featuring fresh dough specialty pizzas & our open-view brewing environment makes for a unique experience! Reservations // Call 814.866.BEER (2337)
:: Full Menu, Wood-fired Brick Oven & Casual Pub Dining
:: Brewery & Craft Beer Pub
:: Craft Beers on Tap & Beer To-Go
:: Indoor & Outdoor Dining & Bar
:: Online Ordering & Takeout
:: Beer To-Go
:: Conveniently located of I-90 on Peach Street

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

Direct Daily Flights to Charlotte and Chicago.
Erie International Airport is serviced by American Airlines and United Airlines with daily flights to Charlotte and Chicago with connections across the country and around the world. Book your flight today at or

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partner mazza vineyards

Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

Local wine is great for holiday entertaining, plus it makes a great gift! Stop by to try (and pick up) award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA.

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