I want to know what it is like to run a business in Erie so I visited Lee Carter at Miner’s Tavern. As a downtown restaurant and bar, Miner’s gets a lot of traffic from visitors and residents. Miner’s serves high quality american pub faire and has a great selection of beer on tap, including a rotating special from local brewer IRBC.
Lee bought Miner’s Tavern 12 years ago and has done a fantastic job making it family friendly. He installed a large door to open up the dining area during warm summer days and he recently installed a new patio area. Lee holds an annual shrimp boil to bring his cajun roots to Erie. He is also a big fan of all bicycling-related efforts in town.
I asked Lee what challenges he has operating a business in Erie. “Well, parking is a mess.” he said. Near his restaurant the majority of parking options are on-street. Lee would like to see more lots open up for the public within a block or two of Briggs Street. I completely agree.
So what would help his business? “More events.” Lee said. During town events like the Farmer’s Market and Concert in the Park, Miner’s Tavern is packed full with people who are taking a break from the excitement with a cool drink or a family meal. Afterwards, portions of the crowd stick around and continue the fun. Lee regularly has local bands and karaoke to keep the party going. I agree the downtown events are a great source of revenue for the businesses there. I would like to see more business open up shop there and take advantage of the festivities downtown.
Encouraging small business
We need to encourage more small businesses to locate in Erie so entrepreneurs like Lee can take advantage of the abundant crowds and revenue. I have heard from other business owners the process for starting up in Erie can be difficult to navigate and sometimes unexpected costs are encountered. I would like to see the Chamber of Commerce do a better job helping people get started in Erie and set expectations so potential new owners can plan accurately for the time and expense. We also need to continue to improve the traffic and parking in downtown Erie.
As trustee, I will push hard to open the path for small businesses in Erie and create more parking options in the heart of our town.