Erie Insurance is bringing back employees for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now downtown businesses are hopeful that this could bring customers back.

Erie Insurance employs over 6,000 employees, 3,000 of those employees are located at their home office alone.

The home office has not had anyone work inside since it was finished in 2020.

Two hundred employees will soon be back in the next couple of weeks bringing more foot traffic to downtown businesses.

Erie Insurance employees are returning to the office and filling the brand new Thomas B. Hagen building that was completed back in 2020.

For downtown businesses, the more employees returning, the more foot traffic to their businesses.

“I mean Erie Insurance is a main supporter of the businesses downtown. It’s a lot of people over there so it’s huge,” said Kelli Graham, Owner of Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe.

Once the owner of El Amigo Mexican Grill heard that Erie Insurance was returning, he began to hire more staff.

“We started to hire new people especially for the morning. That’s when they are here and ready. Actually we have more staff now and in the kitchen out here and everywhere. I think we are ready,” said David Saldana, Owner of El Amigo Mexican Grill.

The vendors inside the Flagship City Food Hall are expecting to see high volumes of customers as more employees come back to the downtown office.

After two years of the pandemic, the employees returning is a sign of normalcy for one restaurant.

“I think with them coming back is a hope that everybody comes back to normal or everything, and the businesses especially. I think it’s a relief to know that we can count on Erie Insurance now and their business to survive,” said Saldana.

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All of the businesses we spoke with on Monday said that not only is Erie Insurance a big supporter of local businesses, but the entire Erie community.