Donna Christopher office opening

State Farm agent Donna Christopher holds the ribbon after a ceremony Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, to open her new insurance offices at 338 Walnut St. in downtown Johnstown.

State Farm agent Donna Christopher has seen a thing or two in her 35 years in the insurance business. 

Some of that experience gave her second thoughts before undertaking her second renovation of a blighted downtown Johnstown property. 

“I said, ‘No, no, I don’t want to do that again. It’s a lot of work,’ ” Christopher joked after the ribbon-cutting program Thursday at her new State Farm agency location, 338 Walnut St.

The new office suite was built as a 2,400-square-food addition to the former David’s One Stop Shop convenience store.

The original building was renovated and remains available for rent.

Lauren Thompson, of Johnstown Area Regional Industries, said the project represents more than a new business location. 

“When you take a blighted property – some would say an eyesore – and turn it into something beautiful, it gives a new feeling of hope for the future of Johnstown,” Thompson said during opening ceremonies.

“What you’ve done with the property will help the local economy,” Cambria County Commissioner Tom Chernisky said. 

Investing in downtown businesses is becoming a trend, Johnstown Mayor Frank Janakovic said. 

“I’m very optimistic that we are going to see a lot more positive things coming up this summer,” Janakovic said. 

The opening comes just more than 10 years after Christopher’s agency moved into the former Burger King building at 339 Main St. after another renovation project.

That building is now home to the Harvest medical marijuana dispensary. 

The new State Farm location has about 20% more office space, allowing the addition of a conference room and more storage, Christopher said.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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