As Johnstown prepares to leave Act 47, officials and business owners are reacting to the increase in new business coming to Johnstown.
Jennifer Tiffany, with the Cambria regional chamber of commerce, says for the past two years, she has seen “record breaking new members joining and record breaking ribbon cuttings.” “We have been doing a lot of ribbon cuttings. We just did one for Roots Kitchen And Juicery last week. Our office is across the street from that business and it has been so neat to see lines of people out the door. They’re very successful. Journey Restaurant just opened across the street from our building, so we’re just talking about one block, in downtown Johnstown.”
Johnstown D.C.E.D. director, john Dubnansky says the city has started programs, to help new business in getting on their feet. He also says the pandemic gave officials room to introduce these programs. Dubansky says the city has already awarded over 2 million dollars in the past 2 years, to help spark economic growth. “The economic climate has been improving over the last few years. You know, it really started with the pandemic, you know, where the pandemic has really decimated a lot of the communities across the united states, it was actually beneficial, to some level.”
“We worked with JARI. We worked with JRA, Community Foundation, all these different organizations that are here to help people get started. It’s been really a nice way to get involved here.”
Meghan and George Heit say it started 4 years ago, when they were working a food truck. They say circumstances are now more welcoming, and that’s what led them to open a shop near central park. “It was a lot of hard work, but we got a lot of help from a lot of good people. A lot of Johnstown, the city itself, they’ve helped us tremendously along the way.”
Locals in Johnstown tell me they notice the climate changing too. They say they’re seeing more people on the sidewalks, and a sense of community that they say has been dormant for decades.