Erie Events Impact Downtown Business

by Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

GRAPHICFORARTICLEIn 2018, Erie Events drove nearly $88 million in direct spending to the Erie region. Erie Events, which operates the Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, UPMC Park and Bayfront Convention Center, is located in the heart of Erie’s downtown cultural, entertainment and sports district.

With a 2018 event attendance of 729,966, Erie Events is a major driving force that attracts people to downtown Erie.  In addition to attending events, those people also visited restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Downtown establishments prosper on event days.

Bertrand Artigues, owner of Cloud 9 Wine Bar, said he sees a direct correlation between events held in downtown Erie and how busy his business is.

“If [Erie Events] is busy, I’m busy. When we prepare, one of the first things we do is look at the Erie Events website to see what is bringing people into town,” he said. “A big piece of the pie for business here is having events downtown. When events occur, everything flourishes.”

Rochelle Carlotti, bar manager at Jekyll and Hyde’s, agreed.

“We absolutely see an influx in business when events are happening. Weekdays especially are greatly improved by downtown events. Events at the Warner and the Arena, especially Otters games, more than double our business. People often come in for dinner before the event and often stop by after for a drink.”

The Erie Insurance Arena drew 291,862 patrons in 2018, with an average of 3,423 people per game coming to see the Otters during the 2018-2019 season. UPMC Park brought in a total event attendance of 217,868 and the Bayfront Convention Center had a total event attendance of 133,686. The Warner Theatre brought in an additional 86,550 attendees.

For J.B. Innes, manager and owner of 1201 Kitchen, a Warner Theatre crowd brings in a tremendous amount of business.

“When reservations start coming in for a certain date, especially a weekday, I know something’s happening,” he said. “For us, the Warner especially does a great job in bringing in a lot of our customers.”

Downtown businesses unanimously agree that Erie Events plays a significant role in the amount of traffic they get during an event.

“When there’s events and things are going well, there’s a momentum downtown. We get bombarded. It’s fun to watch and be a part of,” Artigues said.

“These events are the cultural center of our city. They bring people in business to all of the bars, restaurants and shops downtown,” Carlotti said. “[Downtown events] bring us a large amount of business from people who may not think to stop into our establishment otherwise.”

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Familiar Face at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel Named Executive Chef

Kristian Young has called a handful of cities home. His journey has brought him across the country, landing in Erie as the Executive Chef for the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel. He’s lived in Chicago, Oregon, Los Angeles and Scottsdale. Young says he’s now grown his own roots in the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania and doesn’t seem himself leaving anytime soon. The Bayfront Grille isn’t the first Erie restaurant he’s worked in though. Young started his career in Erie as a Sous Chef at the Avalon Hotel, then moved to the Erie Club as a Sous Chef and most recently working at the Sheraton as a Sous Chef since 2011.

His talents are staying at the Sheraton Bayfront Grille, but will be used in a new capacity as the Executive Chef. He learned his craft at Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, remembering the sweltering heat while cooking during the summer months. Young now has four seasons to craft a menu around — summer, fall, winter and spring — each giving him the chance to show his creative side. “French Continental Fusion — French paired with American is my favorite to cook,” he says. Young’s unique style in the kitchen comes from his time spent in nearly every region of the U.S. That, he says, allows him to bring national and international influences into his recipes at Erie’s magnificent waterfront restaurant. During his time as a Sous Chef at the Sheraton, the Bayfront Grille was awarded the #1 status within the Sheraton brand for the last two years.

“It would be foolish not to want to be [the Executive Chef],” Young said. “It’s one of the premier restaurant in the region and that’s why I want to be here.” It’s now up to Young to prove himself within the company and the region — a goal he says comes with his new title.

Young’s first day in his new role will be November 22nd. He wants Erie residents who have yet to dine at the restaurant to stop in, reminding everyone that although the restaurant is located in a hotel, it’s not just for guests to enjoy. Young compares it to other local restaurants in the same price range saying, “You can go elsewhere, but you’ll only leave here full and satisfied.”

Restaurant hours are Monday through Saturday 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM; Sunday 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM with hours extended Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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