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Jehovah's Witnesses convention brings people, business to Johnstown


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As Jehovah’s Witnesses head into a third consecutive weekend of the regional 2016 Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Johnstown business owners are feeling the impact.

With as many as 5,000 visitors staying in the area each weekend, according to Melissa Radovanic, president of Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership, crowds are flowing into downtown and area businesses.

Event organizers have said that they expected at least 12,000 attendees total this year as the convention series returns to Johnstown at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see,” Radovanic said. “If you come into town on the weekend, it’s wonderful to see so many people.”

Restaurants are especially busy as convention sessions close in the evenings. It’s the type of event ideal for bringing people to town, she said.

“The economic impact of these conventions on the entire county is really significant,” she said.

“For the downtown, it is very important. Between (the downtown Johnstown Holiday Inn) and Econo Lodge, there are a lot of people staying downtown.

“Around 5 o’clock, they are going around for dinner. You’ll see them downtown and going into the different establishments.” 

Radovanic also is director of sales and marketing for Crown American Hotels.

The downtown Holiday Inn, she said, is sold out – along with every other Cambria County hotel.

Convention organizers call around January to book the spaces, she said.

“They will spill out over into Somerset, Blair and Indiana counties also,” she said. “The conference center has been open 13 years now. Our greatest effort is to get conventions – even if it’s 500 or 600 people.”

In August, she said, the Pennsylvania Square and Round Dance Federation will be coming to town, along with about 400 dancers.

Those smaller events are a boost, too.

“We just ask that businesses, when they see these are coming to town, that they add staff and stock up in the downtown and Greater Johnstown community,” she said.

Source: http://www.tribdem.com/news/jehovah-s-witnesses-convention-brings-people-business-to-town/article_53f2017c-32ae-11e6-a0d2-07b69a706010.html

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