Koch's at Connor set for June opening

May 16—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Even though Koch's at Connor won't officially open until June 3, downtown Johnstown residents are already stopping by the grocery and convenience store to purchase some of the currently limited items available, including hoagies, fresh produce and snacks.

The new business is located in Fulton I. Connor Tower, 527 Vine St., a public housing unit operated by the Johnstown Housing Authority.

It is opening, in part, to help fill the void from when the downtown Ideal Market closed last summer.

"Everybody's just so excited," Koch's at Connor owner Renee Turturica said.

"People are coming in, just wanting to check it out."

JHA Chairman Charles Arnone added that "it's very exciting because people have asked months for it. It's taken a long time because of paperwork naturally, getting all the signatures, making sure we get the right electricity supply and she had ordered equipment."

Turturica, along with other local store owners, received a notice about JHA wanting to bring a food store into the space. A bid process took place.

She, at the time, had not been looking to open a second location to accompany the original Koch's in Johnstown's West End neighborhood, but then the opportunity "fell into place," as Turturica explained.

"I got the letter and looked into it a little bit," she said.

"Thought about it for a second. Well, actually thought about it for two days. After that, it was 'How do you write a business proposal?' I'm not a business person. My career was in marketing. I worked in graphics. I was born an artist. I'm not a business person. We bought the first store. My husband and I bought it together.

"And then, a year and a half into it, he passed away. So, I learned how to run that store, so that gave me the confidence to do this one."

Turturica is bringing prepared foods from the West End store to sell at the Connor location.

"That way, everybody knows it's my subs, it's my ham salad, it's my pasta salad," she said.

"Everybody knows my food in the West End."

A notebook is also being kept with suggestions from residents about what should be sold at the store — with ice cream and produce being popular recommendations.

"That way we can fill up with what people want, instead of what we think they want," Turturica said.