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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New Menus at Erie Insurance Arena

By Beth Wilkinson, Concessions Operations Manager

MenuBoardIdea2

When you go to order food at the Erie Insurance Arena this year, you’ll notice a different look.

Don’t be intimidated! We feel change is a good thing, and we’ll tell you why. We’re presenting options in a clear, concise way in bright colors and text that you can read from far away. This will allow you more time to scan for your favorite option, and our hope is you’ll know exactly what you want when you get to the register. If you’re at the Club Level, in our suites, or watching the BayHawks courtside, you’ll also see a new menu.

We’re also excited about where you see the Coca-Cola ad in our example picture above. There, it will be moving video that shows several options that you will have. In that spot, we’ll be showing you items like pop, beer, and popcorn to further help you visualize some of our options.

One item of note, as well: Don’t be afraid to move around the Arena! We have specific items at each area that can’t be found in the rest of the Arena. Those items include a walking taco, root beer float, brownie sundae, gyro, philly cheese steak, chicken tenders, poutine, and more.

We look forward to serving you this year at the Erie Insurance Arena!

The Art of Food in Our Community

by Jake Juliano, Sous Chef at the Bayfront Convention Center

Sometimes, we have to take a moment to smell the (cantaloupe) roses.

For us here on the culinary side at the Bayfront Convention Center, we do something, we do it again, and then we do it again. And in the back of house, it’s easy to get lost in the fact that, for example, we’re doing a fruit platter every day. And yes, we might be cutting cantaloupe or pineapple in a different way on different days, but for us, it’s still cantaloupe and pineapple. For people here only once in a while, that palm tree made of pineapple and that flower made of cantaloupe made them go “oh, wow,” and it could be a reason they come back or bring someone else in.

Watermelon fruit display

An example of just some of the cool things we do here at the BCC. 

There’s a couple who called Lisa DiLuzio, our director of marketing and sales, who had their wedding here five years ago. Their family is in the area, but they are not. At the wedding, they had the candied bacon we do in house, and they loved it at the tasting. However, they weren’t able to have any the day of the wedding due to their responsibilities, but all their guests still rave about it. They’re going to be in the area for their five-year anniversary and requested a bouquet of the candied bacon skewers to celebrate.

How cool is that? For five years, something we did made such a lasting impression on them that they came back to us. What we put out into the community may be just another event to us sometimes, but the littlest parts and things we do live on in hearts, minds, and future celebrations.

This is a lesson I learned from Chef David Robbinson here at the Bayfront Convention Center. One of the first things I learned was professionalism, but then I also learned the community aspect. I don’t think I truly realized the finesse of things until I got here. And to be in this industry, as much as I love food, you have to enjoy the artistry and the aesthetic.

Cooking is one of the few art forms that utilizes all five senses. If I bring out a plate of fajitas, you’re going to see them, hear them, and – hopefully – taste them.

Some people say there’s a box you’re limited to when you work a job. And there is a box here, but that box is so much bigger than anywhere else. If you’re working at Lucky Louie’s, you’re making hot dogs. If you’re at Cloud 9, it’s poutine with some occasions for something fancier. Don’t get me wrong, those are great places. But here, yes, you have your hot dogs and hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, but you also have the opportunity to work with food that no one else in the area gets to work with. And to be able to work with food in that way, whether it’s a cantaloupe rose or a four-pound block of ice, it’s amazing.