Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
Welcome to Biz Buzz, our daily blog on all things business. Turn here for breaking news on the economy, local industry and area people engaged in the region's companies.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: August 19th, 2014

The water will be a bit colder than usual early Thursday evening at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park in Summit Township.

Splash Lagoon, owned by Scott Enterprises, is hosting what it bills as the largest ALS ice bucket challenge in the nation.

The broader challenge began in July when the family of a Massachusetts man diagnosed with ALS came up with a plan to raise money for research.

They challenged people to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads and to challenge up to three people on social media to do the same or to make a donation to the ALS Association.

Many people, it turns out, are doing both.

The challenge has gone viral, raising more than $15 million in less than a month. That compares with less than $50,000in the same period in 2013.

Splash Lagoon is looking to take the challenge to a new level at 6:15 p.m. Thursday when the water park will dump a 1,000-gallon bucket of cold water on top of more than 50 local leaders.

Nick Scott Sr., president of Scott Enterprises, said, “We are excited and happy to participate in bringing attention to this worthy cause.”

Kelsey Fitch, a spokeswoman for Scott, said local business and political leaders are being asked to donate $50 or more to participate. Scott Enterprises has pledged to match those donations.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 19th, 2014

If you look up in the sky in the next few minutes, you just might spot a blimp flying overhead.

A DirectTV blimp, which spent the night at Erie International Airport, is scheduled to depart for its next destination within a few minutes.

The blimp, which arrived at about 6 p.m. Monday, was moored at the western edge of the airport by North Coast’s hangar No. 4., said Sheila Bruno, the airport’s chief financial officer.

“It’s kind of nice timing,” she said. “Today is our aviation day and we have lots of Boy Scouts here.”

Bruno said she believes the blimp will be passing over the city.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 15th, 2014

There’s a new restaurant open in the former Clifton Manor building at 3444 West Lake Road in Millcreek Township.

This one, however, represents a culinary departure from the old Clifton Manor, well known for Lake Erie perch dinners and allowing patrons to grill their own steaks.

The new restaurant, which was licensed to open on Aug. 9 by the Erie County Department of Health, is called Chopstix. The restaurant, owned by Wen Juan Shi, advertises Chinese, Japanese and Thai food.

For more information, call 833-3339.


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 15th, 2014


Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate rose in July to 5.7 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from June. This was the first gain in the state unemployment rate since June 2012. The commonwealth’s rate was five-tenths of a percentage point below the U.S. rate of 6.2 percent, which was also up one-tenth of a point in July. The state rate was down 1.8 percentage points from its July 2013 rate of 7.5 percent.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the number of people working or looking for work – was down 32,000 in July to 6,371,000 due to a decline in resident employment (-35,000). Despite July’s decline, employment has been trending upward.  Pennsylvania’s employment has gone up 40,000 in the past year, and is up 21,000 so far in 2014. Unemployment, up 4,00o, increased for the first time since August 2012.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 13th, 2014

European retailer H&M, which has 2,600 stores in 53 countries, opens at noon Thursday at the Millcreek Mall.

The store, which has a reputation for selling quality fashion at an affordable price, is offering giveaways of up to $300 to the first 100 people in line.

The 23,000-square-foot store is located near the mall’s customer service center.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 12th, 2014

Snowmobile tourism contributes $232 million to Pennsylvania’s economy each year, according to an economic impact report issued earlier today by the Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association. That’s a big number, and the study is not entirely clear on how its authors reach that number.

Nevertheless, the study says resident snowmobilers spent $96 million in the Commonwealth while taking snowmobiling trips during the 2013-14 winter. They spent an additional $57 million on snowmobile and equipment purchases. All this spending supported 1,754 jobs.

The study also reported:

–       The average respondent took 8.3 day trips within Pennsylvania and 2.6 overnight trips within the state during the 2013-14 winter;

–       The average snowmobiler reported 266 gallons of in-state fuel purchased to transport and ride their snowmobiles;

–       The average snowmobiler also spent a total of $779 per in-state trip for food, lodging and ancillary trip expenses; and

–       Respondents estimated annual expenditures of more than $4,000 on snowmobiles and $1,000 on associated equipment.

This study was funded by a grant from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association and assistance from the PA Association of Travel and Tourism.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 12th, 2014

For the second year in a row, Erie Insurance Group received top honors on the J.D. Power Small Business Commercial Insurance Study, which evaluates small business owners’ satisfaction with commercial insurance policies. To complete its study, analysts measured responses from 3,525 people, ranking 14 small business insurance providers.

The 2014 study measured five factors to determine overall satisfaction: price, payment/billing, policy offerings, claims and. The study included businesses with 50 or fewer employees that purchased either commercial property or general liability insurance.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 8th, 2014

Here is a good economic sign: Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,090,079 tons in July, the highest total for the trade since July 2012.

Year-to-date, the Great Lakes limestone trade stands at 12 million tons, down 6.1 percent compared to a year ago. Much of the decrease is the result of the brutal winter of 2013/2014. Ice conditions were so formidable that the limestone trade did not resume in earnest until late April.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 7th, 2014

The Little Caesars Love Kitchen will roll into the Erie City Mission, 1017 French St., Sunday and into the Emmaus Soup Kitchen, 218 E. 11th St., Monday to provide fresh Little Caesars pizza meals for about 600 people.

The Little Caesars Love Kitchen, a pizza kitchen on wheels, travels across the continental United States and Canada to feed the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: August 6th, 2014

Dunkin’ Donuts fans in the Erie area will soon have a couple more options for satisfying their coffee-and-doughnut cravings.

Scott Enterprises, which operates Dunkin’ Donuts locations on Peach Street in Summit Township and in the Millcreek Mall, has confirmed plans to open new locations in Harborcreek Township and Millcreek Township.

Nick Scott Sr., president of Scott Enterprises, said a new doughnut shop will be open by Thanksgiving at 2545 W. 12th St. in the former location of the Cicogna Sign Company Inc.

Scott said he expects to open another location a few months later on Buffalo Road, just west of Applebee’s in Harborcreek Township.

Posted in: Uncategorized