Local business fights blight with toilet paper

Local News

Governor Tom Wolf spoke about infrastructure struggles in Johnstown on Wednesday, and there’s a local business dedicating their profits from one of their products to getting rid of blight in the area.

Brothers Seth and Chad Gontkovic, along with Chad’s wife Jill and business partner Matt Haas, opened Johnstown Paper Company just four months ago.

The company’s goal was to demolish the first blighted house in their first year of business. It only took three months, and Seth said folks are starting to get behind their vision for Johnstown.

“Buy more paper from us, and you’ll see the houses come down faster and faster. We really just have a small handful of customers at this point. It did not take that many to do that first house, so the possibility is just exponential as we continue to grow over the next coming years,” Gontkovic said.

He explained they knew there was a huge blight problem in the Johnstown area and wanted to think of a way to tackle the issues without raising taxes or asking for donations.

That’s why they started spending all of their profits from toilet paper sales on the project.

“We needed money to take care of this problem. There’s a lot of houses. There’s over a thousand, roughly, in the city limits, but this is money that’s flowing through the area, every month, every year and it just leaves. It just goes right out of the area. We wanted to figure out a way to keep it here. There’s a lot of other products out there that are the same way. Toilet paper was just an obvious one,” Gontkovic said. 

Even after their project with these properties are finished, Gontkovic said all of the profits from their toiler paper will continue to be used for community projects, whether it’s building playgrounds or just helping someone paint their house.

He added they’re aiming to demolish one house per quarter in 2019. The second house on their demolition list will come down in March.

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