A diverse group including pastors, bankers, engineers and construction workers has come together to help develop the Greater Prospect Store Co-Op.
In the future, gardeners, culinary instructors and others are expected to play important roles, too. By combining their skills, the individuals hope to make the market into a hub of Johnstown’s Prospect neighborhood.
Bethel AME Church has hosted regular meetings of co-op officials. More than a dozen other organizations have made contributions: Stevens Memorial Holy Church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, AmeriServ Financial, Alternative Community Resource Program, Johnstown United Methodist Parish, Greater Johnstown School District, Natural Biodiversity, CJL Engineering, Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center, Cambria County Prison, Cambria County Conservation District, National Park Service, Lift Johnstown and Unity Foundation.
“I love to see the community coming together because it’s a community project,” said Rev. Lloyd King, pastor of Bethel AME Church.
Two of the main contributors to the project work for AmeriServ: co-op President the Rev. Sylvia King and construction manager Vincent Peluso.
“We’re a community bank, and what that means is that it’s in our DNA that we believe supporting the community accrues back to us. ... If the community’s not strong, it’s not going to be a good place to live, a good place to work,” said AmeriServ President and CEO Glenn Wilson. He called helping the co-op “the right thing to do.”
The market, located at 110 William Penn Ave., is scheduled to open sometime this spring. A “coming soon” sign was recently installed.
Once opened, the nonprofit store will offer produce grown in community gardens and fresh-made foods.
Cost for membership will be $60 annually or 12 hours of volunteered time per month, which will entitle individuals to a 3 percent discount on purchases. Nonmembers will be able to shop at the store, too. The co-op is expected to also offer laundry services, culinary classes and a coffee shop.