The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 19, 2013

Co-op coming to Prospect

JOHNSTOWN — Once completed, the Greater Prospect Store Co-Op will serve as a market, educational facility, coffee shop, laundromat, gathering place and hopefully a source of pride for the little Johnstown neighborhood.

Right now, though, it is home to an ongoing construction project. And organizers from Greater Prospect Inc. are looking for more skilled laborers and other volunteers to help them complete the process of transforming what was a vacant eyesore at 110 William Penn Ave. into a vibrant community center.

Much work has already been done on the building, such as putting a new roof and reinforced concrete blocks into place, along with making footer repairs.

Assistance is still needed, though, to help with interior projects, including the installation of plumbing, electrical, HVAC and gas. Volunteers also could help with painting, carpentry, landscaping and general labor.

“I just think it would be a benefit if the community people could step in if they have a particular expertise and then offer that expertise when that phase comes up,” said construction manager Vincent Peluso, who can be reached at his AmeriServ Financial office by calling 533-5210.

Organizers hope people who help build the co-op will develop a personal connection to it.

“I really believe a sense of ownership is the biggest thing we’re trying to instill,” Peluso said.

The co-op is scheduled to open in May.

“It will become a focal point for the community,” said co-op president, the Rev. Sylvia King.

People will be able to join the nonprofit store for a minimum annual fee of $60 or by volunteering 12 hours per month, which will entitle them to a 3 percent discount on items and other special offers.

Co-op participants will be able to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits, grown by Greater Johnstown School District students, along with soups, salads and other foods made from those all-natural products. Fresh-brewed coffee will be sold.

Cooking and canning classes will be offered.

On-site laundry machines will be available.

“The hope is that the store becomes a really good little store, but that it also becomes more than that,” said co-op board member Mike Kane, president of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, an organization assisting in the project’s development.

“(We want it) to become a place that the community can gather and support, point to with pride, help grow, help see as a positive for the community.”

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