Shop the Innovators
Support the NWPA Innovation Beehive's makers this holiday season
The NWPA Innovation Beehive Network is a free resource for business owners, start-up entrepreneurs, inventors, and more. With each local university contributing specialized services like market research, crowdfunding help, marketing and branding, and rapid prototyping, they remove barriers that prohibit business growth and innovation. Each of the companies in this section have worked with the Beehive to enhance some part of their business. But the innovative business concept, and the daily drive needed to succeed, should be credited to their entrepreneurial spirit. Enjoy shopping at these various "Friends of the Hive."
Borgia Artistry Studios
Local artist Brandon Borgia is most known for his Crystal Ball series, in which famed Erie landmarks and landscapes are cleverly observed through the titular sphere. These images come framed from the webstore. Meanwhile, Borgia's newest offering is a 3D barometric map of Lake Erie, a piece lasered out of wood and composed of eight total layers. It's truly stunning wall art, perfect for the boater, fisherman, or other outdoor enthusiast in your life. Visit borgiaartistrystudio.com.
Paper Owl Press
Paper Owl Press, the product line from local artist Megan Merz, is packed full of beautiful notecards, postcards, prints, and stickers. Most feature a delightfully colorful array of animals, including the best-selling Mushroom Cat. Others are more locally focused, like the clever You Otter Visit Presque Isle postcard. Lastly, make sure to check out the Hidden Forest Oracle Deck, a great divination deck for beginners that features Merz's distinctive work. Visit etsy.com/shop/thepaperowlpress.
Hopleaf Tea Company
This innovative Erie company combines fresh hops with loose-leaf tea, resulting in a variety of flavors that they sell online and at local locations (Voodoo Brewing Company, Tipsy Bean, Luminary Distilling, and more). Their sampler pack is a great place to start, and they have a slew of seasonal flavors like "Gingerbread Black," "Imperial Pumpkin," and "Cinnamon Hops." If you want to fully dive in, they even sell tea pots and a mesh tea ball to put your materials in. Visit hopleafteaco.com.
Hikes and Hose
Local outdoor gear company Hikes & Hose creates hiking, biking, and general adventure gear that's sustainable and eco-friendly. Products like their biking tool bag are made from 100% recycled fabric, so that you can support the planet while traversing it. Their recycled firehose products — such as koozies, totes, billfolds, crossbody bags, and dog toys — are other examples of these strong values, all the while being extremely durable and eye-catching. Also, if you knit, they've teamed up with Three Tulips Yarn Company (another Erie organization) for a customizable yarn bag. Visit hikesandhose.com.
Jake's Custom Shop
One of the most innovative musical minds in the Erie community, Jake Lehotsky designs and sells synthesizers and individual modules to fellow creatives. Their signature product is the Modular Zero Complete Eurorack System, which features 11 modules and additional room to expand your sound (it's described as a "standalone analog instrument"). Venture into the musical unknown with Jake's Custom Shop. Visit jakescustomshop.com.
Your Sailing Adventure
It may not be sailing season, but that doesn't mean you can't purchase a warm-weather experience for your loved one, your employees, or anyone else on your gift-giving list. Your Sailing Adventure, founded by Erie's own Scott Hitz, offers several different sailing and adventure packages, all taking advantage of Lake Erie's natural beauty. When purchasing a gift card, it gives you the price of each experience — like "Sunset Sail," "Sommelier & Sailing," and more — so that your gift receiver can be ready for 2024. Visit yoursailingadventure.com.
Journeyman Hammocks is all about connecting with local adventurers and making their camping trips more comfortable. Their signature product — the Journeyman Hammock Camp — is super easy to hang, waterproof and keeps you bug free. You can also grab their adventure kit/storage bag, which keeps your hammock dry on the way to the campsite. This will be a new, and eventually your favorite, way to camp. Visit journeymanhammocks.com.
Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro Jerk Sauce
One of Erie's most celebrated dining experiences, Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro is sharing a bit of their culinary magic through their packaged jerk marinade and sauce. The sauce is a perfect stocking stuffer for the home chef in your family, and it can be purchased at several local stores, such as: the Erie Food Co-Op, Gordon's Butcher and Market, and right at their restaurant.
Mia D'Amato's Erie clothing company Boho Basement is shaking up your game day fits, complete with a sustainable and eco-friendly approach. The products are all upcycled from materials sourced secondhand, as she elevates them and mitigates any textile waste. The demand is so high that, 1) you have to pay attention to their website for the next product drop; and 2) custom orders open up periodically, so you have to stay locked into their Instagram. If you get on Boho's wavelength, you'll have the coolest (and most environmentally conscious) outfit come Sundays. Visit bohobasement.co.
Eat Your Yard Erie
Tess Frawley's Eat Your Yard aims to create food production in your "residential or commercial landscape." Their organization will first help you install a garden at your home or business, while then planting items like lettuce, carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes (whatever you want!). They have both subscriptions and a la carte options, and an email generally gets the process started. For a gift, contact them and see what you can set up for a friend or family member. Visit eatyouryarderie.com.
Chris Lantinen is the Director of the PennWest Edinboro Beehive and can be found at nwpabeehive.com