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president’s perspective Barbara Chaffee

Following a fifteen year absence from “home” I returned to Erie this April to serve as President and CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.

miniature golf. The Erie SeaWolves provide friends and family with great baseball and special events at Jerry Uht Park throughout the summer.

Where we choose to live and work helps define us as a person. When I worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as deputy secretary of tourism and economic development marketing, there was only one place I could call home: Harrisburg, the state capitol. When called upon to serve the administration of President George W. Bush in the Office of Homeland Security after September 11, 2001, there was no other choice but to reside in the nation’s capitol. Both careers were rich in experiences but my heart was always here in Erie.

Fall is one of my personal favorites—some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the world is our back drop; my cycling and roller-blading friends enjoy the miles of trails throughout the region. Fall brings the launch of hockey season and you can’t beat the energy of an Erie Otters hockey game at the Tullio Arena.

I have traveled the entire expanse of Pennsylvania by car, plane, train, boat and even horseback. I have traveled to thirty-one states, and ten nations. I chose to come home to Erie because I believe it is the perfect place to start a business, celebrate our quality of life with family and friends and renew one’s spirit. When my spirit and creative juices need a jolt, when I need to find balance or escape the pressures of life, it is Lake Erie and Presque Isle that is my playground. A walk along our great beaches or the miles of trails is the perfect way to decompress. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing water skiing, all of the water related sporting activities provide the escape valve we all need to lower our stress or to provide a creative environment. Each season in Erie and Pennsylvania’s northwest provides new opportunities. In the summer months my fanatic golf friends enjoy their quest for birdies, eagles and albatrosses on the great golf courses in the region; my quest is for a hole in one at

Erie winters are always talked about! You can raise your temperature with the action at an Erie BayHawks basketball game. Throughout the region one can celebrate our winters with ice fishing, ice skating, skiing, tubing and snowboarding. The arrival of spring in Erie provides our birders a spectacular show with Presque Isle being a favorite spot for birds to feed and rest on their migration on the Atlantic Flyway; we are one of the top birding spots in the nation! Fishing spans all of our seasons along the shorelines, at Elk and Walnut Creeks and Presque Isle State Park, ranked as one of the top 20 family fishing spots in the nation. In Erie and the northwest region, we have a stellar menu of sports and activities to choose from year round. The region has all of the ingredients needed for an active lifestyle. We need to focus on all the great opportunities we do have; we need to tell others about our great quality of life. This issue of your ERIE Magazine will give you much to talk about. Gratefully,

Peter Balmert John J. Barber Dr. Donald L. Birx John Bloomstine Carl Carlotti Terrence Cavanaugh Rosanne Cheeseman Gary L. Clark Joel Deuterman Mary L. Eckert Thomas C. Hoffman Timothy Hunter Thomas Kennedy Charles G. Knight John P. Leemhuis John T. Malone James W. Martin

James E. Martin Michael P. Martin Marlene D. Mosco Jack A. Munch David Poor James Rutkowski Jr. Matthew Schultz Nick Scott Jr. John Skory Ronald A. Steele Noreen A. Stegkamper David M. Tullio Russell S. Warner, Chair Michael Weber Thomas J. Wedzik Scott Whalen R. Jason Wieczorek

President/CEO Barbara C. Chaffee

Vice President, Chamber Claudia K. Thornburg

Vice President, Economic Development Jacob A. Rouch

Vice President, Growth Partnership Mary C. Bula

Staff Joelyn J. Bush, Director of Marketing & Communications Sara Galbreath, Sales Executive Julie B. Graff, Sales Executive Melanie A. Johnson, Business Retention & Expansion Program Manager Doug M. Massey, Workforce Development Coordinator-Training Cathy Noble, Events Coordinator Benjamin C. Pratt, Director of Research Linda Robbins, Accountant Susan M. Ronto, Membership Coordinator

Editor Joelyn J. Bush

Contributing Writers John Chacona Jennifer Duda Amanda Prischak

Photo Contributors Art Becker

Design Bensur Creative Marketing Group

Barbara

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For Advertising Information: Julie Graff, Sales Executive (814) 454-7191 x 139 jgraff@eriepa.com


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Presque Isle’s Incredible Outdoor Appeal

ERIE Magazine

| June 2011

after hours

what’s inside

We look forward to seeing you at these networking events for Chamber investors.

June 23rd

Business of Sports & Recreation 2-5

New Investors

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Golden Age Interview with Ron Sertz

12-15 Presque Isle’s Incredible Outdoor Appeal

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. United Way & The Erie Community Foundation 420 W 6th Street Erie, PA

16-19 Area Golf Courses Help Keep Region’s Economy Swinging 20

Harborview Mini Golf Beautiful views. Big fun.

July 21st 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Scott Enterprises/ Splash Lagoon 8091 Peach Street Erie, PA

22-23 Celebration of Excellence Erie’s Pioneers of Technology

August 18th 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. The JET-TV 24 & FOX 66 Stations 8455 Peach Street Erie, PA

Please RSVP to the Chamber at (814) 454-7191 x 146 or cnoble@eriepa.com

Cert. No.: BV-SFICOC-US07000166

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welcome new investors Silver Investors

Bronze Investors Electric Materials Company A manufacturer of custom copper products and commutators. Capable of extruding, casting, forging and machining copper utilizing unique, vertically integrated operations.

Stewart Financial Services A full financial service company involved in all facets of life insurance, investments, investment management and the premier Aflac Agency.

Mr. Douglas S. Winner P.O. Box 390 | North East, PA 16428 | (814) 725-9621

Ms. Christine Perkins 1946 West 26th Street | Erie, PA 16508 | (814) 454-2472

Investors AIM Nationalease Provides full service truck leasing along with commercial rentals, contract maintenance and complete supply chain logistics solutions. Ms. Lorena Hecker 5650 Wattsburg Road | Erie, PA 16509 | (814) 825-6661 Candy Bouquet #6800 Our commitment to our customers is to have over 30 arrangements for any occasion ready to go out the door with no waiting. They are filled with delicious candies and chocolates from around the world. Our bouquets never fade, wilt or die. Custom orders welcome.

Central Blood Bank A division of The Institute for Transfusion medicine, Central Blood Bank is a not-for-profit regional organization providing blood products and transfusion related services to 40+ hospitals, most located in western Pennsylvania. Also offers a public cord blood donation program. Ms. Kathleen Johnson 875 Greentree Road | Pittsburgh, PA 15220 | (866) 366-6771 Claudine’s Consignment Furniture, home dÊcor and jewelry consignment store. Ms. Claudine Thiem 2208 West 8th Street | Erie, PA 16505 | (814) 520-8055

Ms. Patricia Figurski 1750 West 8th Street | Erie, PA 16505 | (814) 459-4438

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UBS Financial Services, Inc. UBS Wealth Management Americas delivers solutions, through its Financial Advisors, designed to meet the needs of high net worth and core affluent investors. WMA includes domestic U.S. and Canadian businesses and international business booked in the U.S. Mr. Mark G. Holcomb 100 State Street, Suite 460 | Erie, PA 16507 | (814) 461-7000

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Investors Crosby’s Owners of seven convenience stores in Erie County. Most locations provide coffee, pizza, subs, bakery and grocery items as well as gasoline. Mr. Douglas Galli 500 Holley Street | Brockport, NY 14420 (585) 637-8743

Environment Erie A 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the environment. With three program lines centered on youth education, watershed restoration and community revitalization, Environment Erie serves as a community resource on all environmental issues.

Custom Audio A retailer and installer of mobile electronics, home audio/video, in both residential and commercial settings.

Ms. Garnet Maniscalco 301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 5 Erie, PA 16505 (814) 835-8069

Ms. Sondralee Orengia 4453 West 26th Street | Erie, PA 16506 (814) 833-8383

Erie Philharmonic Provides high quality live orchestra concerts and programs that enrich, entertain, and educate people of all ages.

Dough Boys Pizza & More Locally owned and operated pizza shop. Featuring homemade sauce, fresh dough and thick crust pizza, wings, subs, salads, and appetizers. Offering breakfast pizza and catering. Open early and seven days a week with free delivery. Mr. Dan Milhisler 653 West 26th Street | Erie, PA 16508 (814) 454-3532

Golf Etc. Erie Specialty golf store featuring apparel, equipment, club repair and performance fitting. Mr. Anthony Russo 7520 Peach Street, Suite 102 Erie, PA 16509 | (814) 868-4653

Ms. Karen Beardsley-Petit 609 Walnut Street | Erie, PA 16502 (814) 455-1375 Firebirds Wood Fired Grill Enjoy wood fired steaks, ice cold martinis and more.

Howard Hanna - Erie South The 4th largest real estate company in the United States and offering Erie’s only “one stop” real estate experience. Mr. Mark Eller 5620 Peach Street | Erie, PA 16509 (814) 864-3200 Icing on the Lake A specialty bake shop featuring delicious desserts and entertaining delights made from scratch daily. Retail hours are Tuesday through Friday 10a.m.-6p.m. and Saturdays 10a.m.-4p.m. Pre-orders accepted daily. Ms. Heidi Fette 3624 West 12th Street | Erie, PA 16505 (814) 464-0528

Mr. Tim Haring 680 Millcreek Mall | Erie, PA 16565 (814) 864-1599

iRock Fitness, Inc. After opening December 2010, iRock Fitness has become a popular destination for Erie residents. Owners Matt and Anthony Pribonic have created a new fitness wave in the community. A must see for any fitness enthusiast. Mr. Matt Pribonic 1541 West 8th Street | Erie, PA 16505 (814) 520-8116 Latino’s Restaurant True Mexican cuisine, home-style cooking. Mr. Julio C. Reyes 1313 Parade Street | Erie, PA 16503 (814) 452-1966 Laser Eye Surgery Of Erie Ophthalmology office with a complete optical boutique. Also performs vision correction surgery (Lasik) in the office’s surgery suite. This is an elective procedure. Ms. Brenda Smith 311 West 24th Street, Suite 401 Erie, PA 16504 | (814) 455-7591 Mi Scuzi Ristorante Italiano Upscale Italian restaurant. Mr. Barry Grossman 2641 Myrtle Street | Erie, PA 16508 (814) 454-4533

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Investors Murray Insurance, LLC Independent agency representing Erie Insurance for over 43 years. Personal service and client relations are our hallmarks. Providing expert analysis and consultation for commercial, home, auto and life insurance needs.

National Lime & Stone Company Penndot-approved, crushed limestone yard specializing in all sizes of construction asphalt and concrete aggregates. Proud to be American-owned and doing business since 1903. Mr. Marc Powell 1681 West 16th Street | Erie, PA 16505 (419) 722-6938

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Mr. Mark B. Louis 10 North Park Row | Erie, PA 16501 (814) 870-3124

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort A family and luxury vacation destination on 2,000 wooded acres in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. From the luxurious Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Falling Rock boutique hotel to the comfort of your RV, Nemacolin’s six lodging options cater to everyone’s personal choice with a variety of amenities.

Presque Isle Tent & Table Renting party tents, tables, Chiavari chairs, dance floors, inflatable bounce houses and a dunk tank. Supplies everything for birthday parties to weddings. Mr. Pete Mitchell 141 East 26th Street | Erie, PA 16504 (814) 833-1945

Ms. Jenny Wagner 1001 Lafayette Drive Farmington, PA 15437 (866) 344-6957

Reese’s Restaurant Full service Italian family restaurant featuring homemade pizza dough, sauces and pastas and full service catering. Ms. Donna Reese 827 State Street | Erie, PA 16501 (814) 871-0050

New Media Technologies Specializes in web, social and mobile marketing... Business results. Mr. Craig Small 32 West 8th Street, Suite 606 Erie, PA 16501 (814) 602-8832

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Niagara Village Retirement Independent retirement apartment residence for seniors. Ms. Gay Dearbeck 2380 Village Common Drive Erie, PA 16506 (814) 838-1699

The John Karnes Agency A full-service property/casualty insurance agency specializing in auto and collector car insurance. Offering personal and group financial products: IRSs, mutual funds, variable products, and life insurance products, as well as full group health and supplemental health benefits. Mr. John Karnes 13 Millcreek Square | Erie, PA 16565 (814) 833-7407

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Investors Wells Fargo Advisors Operates the nation’s third largest full service retail brokerage and managed accounts firm with $1.2 trillion in client assets. Services provided include advisory, asset management, brokerage, estate planning, retirement planning and portfolio analysis and monitoring. Mr. Q. Gregory Orlando 100 State Street, Suite 100 Erie, PA 16507 (814) 453-5021 Werkbot Studios A website strategy company specializing in web development, project planning and mobile site design. Mr. Brian Amick 1001 State Street, Suite 800 Erie, PA 16501 (814) 461-1322

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Presque Isle’s Incredible Outdoor Appeal

Golden Age Interview with Ron Sertz, Erie Area Sports Commision

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By John Chacona

Area Golf Courses

Sports fans are famous for watching the standings, and as a group, they endorse the “what have you done for me lately?” approach with the callous focus of a mutual fund manager.

Sertz’s sports business bona fides are beyond argument: success as a high school athletic director, creator of the McDonald’s Classic basketball tournament, co-owner of the Erie Otters hockey club and general mover and shaker on the scene. Now you can add another job title to his sporting resume: cheerleader.

Help Keep Region's Economy Swinging

But scratch a hard-bitten fan and he or she will bleed sentiment and history, a deep, almost irrational love of the game (or team) fueled by memories of a championship season, an idolized player or “the golden age.”

Quoting numbers from the Erie County Convention Center Authority recently, Sertz counts nearly 650 events that attracted 745,500 patrons for an economic impact in excess of $44 million each year. And that doesn’t take into account the hundreds of sporting events held at local high schools and colleges, at Presque Isle State Park, or at privately owned facilities such as Family First Sports Park.

Harborview Mini Golf Beautiful views. Big fun.

You’ll also get an argument – about the best player, the worst call by a referee, about coulda, shoulda and woulda. And though this statement will inevitably provoke just such a sports-bar, after-game squabble, here goes: The golden age in Erie sports is right now. Consider the evidence: four professional sports teams, three NCAA scholarship athletic sports programs in Erie County, state championship-caliber high school teams, and millions of dollars of economic activity associated with them.

In terms of economic impact, there is no question that sports business has never been bigger or better in Erie, and in the best spirit of “what have you done for me lately,” that’s not good enough for Ron Sertz. Sertz heads the Erie Area Sports Commission, an economic development entity within VisitErie, the motto of which might be “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“Could the real golden days of Erie as a sports epicenter and destination be yet to come?”

This last facility put up startling numbers. “The Family First complex attracts, on average, more than 2.5 million visits by more than 450,000 unique visitors,” Sertz says. “These visitors are projected to attend the 25 to 30 major tournaments, camps, clinics, leagues, trade shows and special events hosted by the Park each year. In 2010, the Park generated $12.6 million in economic impact and is projecting $12.3 million in 2011.”

3Photo Courtesy of Erie County Convention Center Authority

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Photo Courtesy of Erie County Convention Center Authority

These events help to support hundreds of local businesses and perhaps thousands of jobs in restaurants, shops and hotels. They also put Erie on the map as a destination for sports-minded families, something the Commission is keen to leverage. To this end, the Women’s Frozen Four, the championship of NCAA hockey at the Tullio Arena in March, was a milestone. “By hosting the event, Erie became one of the few cities in the country to host an NCAA Division One national championship,” Sertz points out. “This three-day event delivered an attendance of more than 8,000 individuals for the national semi-finals and finals, and hosted more than 2,000 out-of-town guests. The economic impact on the community was estimated at approximately $2 million by the officials at VisitErie.” Let’s parse two salient facts from that statement: 2,000 visitors, and March. Clearly, sports can play a leading role in making Erie a year-round destination. But we’re not there yet. “To host a big-time event, you need big-time facilities,” Sertz says. “For soccer, Erie has that. For baseball tournaments, Erie, doesn’t have that, so

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Golden Age continued.

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the Commission is always looking for opportunities to improve facilities—How to make them better? How do we assist those who are planning to construct facilities? The entertainment factor—how to give people more to do—is important. And certainly Erie offers a lot in the summer.”

professional teams that provide, by themselves, more than 150 entertainment events each year. That’s pretty good. It’s certainly good for the community. When you look at high schools and colleges, there’s perchance a good event every day, so I think we’re right-sized.”

One of the things Erie offers is, in Sertz’s estimation, a venue with the greatest untapped potential for hosting sporting events, professional and participatory: Presque Isle, the bay and the lake.

But even right-sized sports towns can dream, and so can Sertz. “I think it would be great to have a bowling event, and I’m working right now to bring the state bowling championships here, but the Professional Bowlers Association event was pretty cool. And now with streaming coverage on the Internet, just about any event can get exposure.”

“You can do so many things within the confines of that space. Now that the bay is swimmable, it would be great to use [it] as the third leg of a triathlon,” he suggests. And it’s not just a summer venue. “I’ve seen outdoor three-on-three hockey in Buffalo on a surface like [the bay].” Sertz has big plans for sports business in Erie—or perhaps his plans are “right-sized,” a term he uses frequently. “We need to find things that are right-sized for Erie. The cumulative effect of some smaller events would equal the effect of a big event.” Sertz mentions a pool tournament or fishing tournaments that quietly attract hundreds of participants. Yet he isn’t gainsaying what we already have. “It is amazing that a city the size of Erie can host four successful

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“When I got this job, one of the first meetings I had was with some guys who are into steelhead fishing, which I knew nothing about,” continues Sertz. “They told me that Erie is one of the top five steelhead fishing areas in the world, and I thought—wait a minute—our streams and lakes are such an asset. If that is so, why don’t we think big? Could we have a national steelhead fishing tournament? Could we have a big banquet? Could we bring in suppliers for a convention? Could we make Erie a center for this activity?” In other words, could the real golden days of Erie as a sports epicenter and destination be yet to come? <

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Presque Isle’s Incredible Outdoor Appeal With its many recreational sports offerings, Erie’s jewel attracts millions of visitors—and dollars—to the area

Presque Isle State Park not only offers visitors ample sand, surf and scenery—it also beckons them with a surprising array of year-round recreational sports. For Harry Leslie, the Presque Isle State Park Operations Manager who has 23 years of experience working with Pennsylvania’s most visited state park, that means Presque Isle is fulfilling its mission to provide healthful activities for people of all means while also generating a sizable amount of money for the local economy. “Especially in the summer months, Presque Isle and the activities it offers is the hook that brings people to Erie,” says Leslie. The impact of the Park’s activities is so big, in fact, the Park is teaming up with Visit Erie to hammer out plans for the Presque Isle State Park Visitor Survey. This first of its kind year-round study of Presque Isle proposes to measure many different facets about park usage and the money it generates. It will hone in on the dollars generated by the park’s many recreational outdoor activities that today include water craft rentals, boating, canoeing, kayaking, running, walking, paddle boarding, pontoon boating, fishing, paddleboarding, biking, hiking and boogie boarding. Even though exact numbers won’t be known for some time, Leslie reports that between 3.5 million to 4.1 million people visit

Golden Age

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By Amanda Prischak

Presque Isle State Park every year. Many come from outside of Erie County, and most partake in outdoor recreational activities. “Two-thirds of those visitors come in the summer months, and I’d say about half or even more come from outside of Erie County to enjoy biking on the Multipurpose Trail, swimming, boating, fishing and more,” Leslie says. One person who can speak firsthand about Presque Isle’s sporty appeal is Dave Parker. He’s been operating rental concessions on Presque Isle for 27 years. Today, his offerings include the Yellow Bike Rental Company that offers a variety of bicycles, surreys, tricycles, rollerblades and games like bocce and cornhole to rent. Presque Isle Canoe and Boat Livery, which rents motor boats, pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, row boats, fishing poles and binoculars; and Presque Isle Ski Center, which rents cross country skis and snow shoes during the cold-weather months. Parker reports that surreys, which can accommodate up to four people, are his top revenue generator. And, by his estimates, out-of-town visitors comprise 40% to 50% of his customers during the popular warm weather months. “Typically, they’re from Pittsburgh,” says Parker. “After a couple days, they’re tired of the beach and the kids are fidgety. So they’ll rent a boat, some fishing poles, or bikes.”

Area Golf Courses

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Harborview Mini Golf Beautiful views. Big fun. 3Photo Courtesy of Art Becker

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Presque Isle continued.

“We have hundreds of outdoor events going on every year, including 20 to 30 charity walks and runs every year. We also have around 20 to 30 regional fishing tournaments every year.” Leslie says that because he and his staff are always looking for new activities to promote on Presque Isle, Erie’s 13-mile jewel continues to attract more people and money to the area. “Our intent is to provide year-round appeal to people, which is why we started classes on making your own cross country skis and snowshoes and on how to icefish,” he says. “We have hundreds of outdoor events going on every year, including 20 to 30 charity walks and runs every year. We also have around 20 to 30 regional fishing tournaments every year.” An exciting and must-try activity at the Park this year (and one they are eager to promote) is paddleboarding, a relatively new and growing sport in Erie. The Park recently inked a one-year contract with ERCGP Investor, Elements Board Shop which allows co-owner Jeff Jones to rent paddleboards at three locations on Presque Isle. Jones

Photo Courtesy of Art Becker

says this is an exciting opportunity for his business, which is thriving after just two years. He predicts that this “cool sport with an easy learning curve” that he’s been promoting at his West 12th Street brick and mortar store will grow this summer. He also forecasts his out-of-town customer base—which he estimates at 15%—will experience a significant bump as the appeal of the sport rises. Jones, who will give paddleboarding demos around the Park, is grateful that Presque Isle allows him to operate his board shop on premise. “Presque Isle is safe, clean, and free,” he says. “There aren’t many state parks that don’t charge visitors.” That’s not to say that Presque Isle will remain fee-free forever. “It’s the million-dollar question,” says Leslie. “The idea of an entry fee to Pennsylvania state parks has been out there for a long time—it’s something every new governor and administration deals with.” Many people want fees in light of state budget cuts to ensure the Park is well cared for; many others bring up the Pennsylvania state parks philosophy of

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Parker adds that bad weather, far more than tough economic times, hurts his business. “Presque Isle is a weekend business, in that we make more on Saturday and Sunday than we do from all the weekdays combined,” he says. “Last year, even with the recession, we did very well because not one weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day got rained out.”

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providing an accessible and affordable opportunity for every state resident to connect to nature. For his part, Leslie— who says he can see both sides of the coin—says the fee issue is one that will only resolve itself over time. What is certain is that Presque Isle will continue to endear both Erie residents and tourists with its inspiring natural beauty and its invitation to enjoy a wide variety of affordable, fun, and ever increasing number of outdoor activities. <

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Incredible Outdoor Appeal

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Golden Age Area Golf Courses

Help Keep Region's Economy Swinging |

Living in the Erie region, one becomes very good at time management. In particular, making the most of the few glorious months when the temperatures rise, the sun shines, and the opportunities for outdoor activities abound.

By Jen Duda

Rocky travels to the Toronto and Cleveland golf shows to promote the course—and the Erie area—to people who might not otherwise have considered it as a destination. “When you tell them that there are so many other things to do here in addition to golf, that really sells them,” he says. “And golf is much more expensive in Canada and other larger cities, so here they can come to an upscale, semi-private club and spend a lot less.”

Harborview Mini Golf Beautiful views. Big fun.

And there are few people who manage that time better than golfers. When the snow shovels are put away and the golf clubs come out in late spring, golfers waste no time flocking to area courses to soak up the sun and engage in some competitive camaraderie with family and friends. Despite the fleeting nature of our area’s golf season, business is booming at both public courses and private clubs, proving that golf is a major player in the economic development of the region.

Driving Tourism It’s no secret that the Erie area has evolved into a tourist destination. From the tax-free shopping to Presque Isle beaches to attractions like Waldameer and Splash Lagoon, people from out of town—and even out of the country – have plenty of reasons to visit the area. And the golf courses are no exception. “We’ve studied our business and have found that over 40 percent of it is generated from outside a 2-hour driving distance,” explains Rich Rocky, golf professional at Whispering Woods Golf Course, located on Grubb Road in Erie.

Whispering Woods, an investor with the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP), has partnerships with Scott Enterprises, the Bel-Aire Clarion Hotel, and Presque Isle Downs to provide “play and stay” packages to out-of-town customers. “People come here to vacation. So not only are they golfing, but they’re spending money at the Mall, going to restaurants, staying in the hotels. We always try to keep them in Erie as much as possible,” Rocky says. ERCGP Investor Peek‘n Peak Resort in nearby Clymer, N.Y., draws much of its business from out-of-town groups and families looking for more of a destination rather than just a day at the golf course. “Not only do we cater to golfers, but we also have a lodge, great dining, a pool, beautiful spa, and mini golf and a play zone for the kids,” says Golf Professional Dwayne Randall. “So as long as there’s one golfer in the group, there are plenty of things for everyone to do. It’s really a great destination, whether it’s a group of guys coming for a weekend of golf, a girls’ getaway, or a family vacation.”

3Photo Courtesy of Peek’n Peak

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Area Golf Courses continued.

And those visitors usually don’t just stay on the resort grounds. “They’ll go to the shops and restaurants in Findley Lake, and we provide tours to local wineries,” says Randall. “When people ask what else there is to do we also always direct them to Erie—to the beaches, the casino, the shopping.”

When the Kahkwa Club, an investor with the ERCGP, hosted the Women’s U.S. Amateur Championship in 2004, more than 7,000 spectators converged on the club for the final round alone, said Golf Professional Michael O’Connor. “Young players like Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer, who are now on the LPGA tour, were here. It really created a lot of excitement for the whole community,” he says. Not only did local restaurants, hotels and other attractions benefit from the extra business, but because the event was televised, it brought a lot of outside attention to Erie. “They produced features on Presque Isle and the community that aired during the event,” said Kahkwa Golf Pro Michael O’Connor. “It brought a lot of awareness to the community and what we have to offer.” O’Connor says they are in discussions with the United States Golf Association (USGA) to bring another major event to the club. “Hopefully something great will come again in the next few years,” he says.

Golf tournaments are a very popular way for organizations to raise money for various causes, and the local courses are happy to accommodate these events. Whispering Woods, Peek’n Peak, Lake Shore and Kahkwa all estimate that about 15 percent of their golf business comes from fundraising tournaments.

“When the snow shovels are put away and the golf clubs come out in late spring, golfers waste no time flocking to area courses to soak up the sun and engage in some competitive camaraderie with family and friends.” Lake Shore Country Club, an investor with the ERCGP, hosts tournaments to benefit the American Red Cross, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, and the NWPA Autism Society, to name a few. But one that the club is especially dedicated to, explains Golf Professional Mike Gajewski, is the Bradley H. Foulk Memorial Golf Tournament, which was held for the first time last June to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County. Foulk, the former Erie District Attorney who passed away in 2009, was instrumental in establishing the organization, which provides timely and coordinated response to child abuse allegations while ensuring the safety and well-being of the abuse victims.

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Golf vacations aren’t the only way the courses are boosting tourism and awareness of Erie.

Caddying for the Kids and the Community

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“A lot of people don’t know what they do, but it’s really a great cause,” says Gajewski. “They’re the last source of help for a lot of children.” The same cause will also benefit from another event Lake Shore is hosting in August – the Children’s Advocacy Junior Golf Skills Challenge. The daylong event will bring disadvantaged youth to the course to learn golf basics and explore the sport with a group of area golf pros. “The goal is to really expose kids to golf who might not otherwise have the opportunity,” says Gajewski. “It’s so important to give these kids a chance to learn about a sport that might be completely new to them. It’s amazing the talent many of these kids don’t even know they have.” Focusing on young golfers is important at Lake Shore, which is known for being a very kid- and family-friendly course. They host Junior Golf Camps throughout the summer for children ages 4-15, and Gajewski says the club’s other activities, including tennis and swimming, also encourage young people to explore golf.

Gajewski says. “We all work hand-in-hand and really build off each other.” Turning young people on to golf is also important at the Kahkwa Club, which is currently working to raise money for the Joseph C. Martin Family Golf Center and its junior golf program. “For about three years my son played at J.C. Martin and it really opened my eyes to what a gem the course is for developing junior golfers,” says O’Connor. Last year the Kahkwa Club hosted the American Junior Golf Association Championship to raise awareness and funds for J.C. Martin, and organized a junior golf clinic at the course. This year Kahkwa is organizing two different golf scrambles for J.C. Martin alumni, with proceeds going to J.C Martin course improvements and developing more junior golf programs. The goal is to raise more than $400,000. “Across the US, the popularity of golfing has been pretty flat,” says O’Connor. “So it is important that we get young people interested in golf. That’s the future of the game.” <

“They will be out by the pool and see other kids their age carrying clubs, which makes them want to check it out,”

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Help Keep Region's Economy Swinging

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By Jen Duda

Let’s face it: Not all of us can drive a golf ball 250 yards. But golfers and non-golfers alike can still enjoy a friendly game on the green at Harborview Miniature Golf.

Located in the heart of Erie’s Bayfront at 36 State Street, Harborview is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Golfers of all ages can take in beautiful views of the bay while navigating through this 18-hole landscaped course.

“Our location and atmosphere makes this course one of the best around,” says Teresa Stankiewicz, owner of Harborview. “The views here on a summer day are phenomenal.” To fit in with the natural beauty of the bayfront, Stankiewicz says when building the course they focused more on creating natural landscapes instead of building artificial obstacles often found at miniature golf courses.

Think rocks and waterfalls rather than clowns and windmills. And because of the large amount of landscaping, Stankiewicz says the course offers more privacy that typical miniature courses. “It really gives people the feel of playing on a large course, but on a much smaller scale,” she says. “And a lot of people are really surprised when they get in here just how deep the course goes.” Harborview is open for its regular season Memorial Day through Labor Day, although it does open on some off-season days in early spring and late fall—weather permitting. An 18-hole game is $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for children up to age 12. Group discounts are offered and the facility has a party room. < For more information, visit harborviewminiaturegolf.com.

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Harborview Mini Golf Beautiful views. Big fun.

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With close to 450 attendees, the 2011 Celebration of Excellence featuring Erieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pioneers of Technology was held on April 28 at the Bayfront Convention Center. Companies with technology on site enhanced the evening and were presented with a special gift of recognition. The event was emceed by Raychel Adiutori of Linear LLC and included a dynamic presentation from Eric Ducharme, Vice President, Global Technology at GE Transportation. Additionally, the 2011 ATHENA PowerLinkÂŽ recipients were recognized. The evening concluded with the presentation of the Louis J. Tullio Community Service Award, which was presented to Mr. Roger W. Richards by Senator Jane Earll.


Congratulations to the 2011 ATHENA PowerLink® program recipients:

• Beth Burnside, CMIT Solutions of Erie (Erie County)

• Michele Quadri Butterfield, Al’s Awning Shop (Erie County)

• Sabrina Fischer, The Sassy Peacock, LLC (Erie County)

• Anita Rose Marcoline, McCormick Coffee Company (Erie County)

• Sherry Morian, Quality Engineering Solutions, Inc. (Crawford County)


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PRSRT STD US POSTAGE

PAID 208 East Bayfront Parkway Suite 100 Erie, PA 16507

PERMIT #298 Erie PA


ERIE Magazine | June 2011