The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 4, 2013

Businesses draw guests with taste

Patrick Buchnowski

JOHNSTOWN — A trail of cookies led Dan and Debbie Gates to B&L Wine Cellars on Broad Street.

The Johnstown husband and wife took part in the Joy of Cookies Tour on Saturday. Fourteen Johnstown-area businesses offered free cookies to lure customers.

“It’s like Hansel and Gretel,” Dan Gates said, referring to the well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale. “But instead of putting down little pieces of bread, they put down cookies and I follow them.”

The couple started with a few others on the tour.

After a morning of lattes, the Gates had lunch at Clark’s Corner Store on Menoher Boulevard before meandering into the wine cellar for a glass of Elvira, a Pennsylvania white table wine.

The cookie tour is good for local businesses, B&L co-owner Chip Brill said.

“It’s bringing all of these small businesses together, and it shows we can be self-reliant,” Brill said.  

Art Works in Johnstown, located at on Third Avenue in Cambria City, had its share of cookie monsters.

“I’m on my third tray of cookies,” said Deborah Byington, front desk assistant. “I handed out all my brochures.”

Some people would never step inside a small business if they’re not familiar with it, said Janet Mical, a volunteer coordinator for the Venue of Merging Arts on Chestnut Street.

“This way they come in and get a free tour and a cookie,” Mical said.

The tour was a joint project of VOMA, Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

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