theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

May 9, 2012

Lifelong Ada resident takes over 'Main Street'

Randy Mitchell City Editor
The Ada News

Ada —  

Ada Main Street is happy to announce the arrival of a new AMS manager.

Jennifer Johnston is new to AMS, but not new to Ada.

“I’m a lifelong Ada resident,” she said.

Johnston left her position at East Central University’s athletic department and started her new job Monday. Johnston is a graduate of Ada High School and the University of Oklahoma. She currently serves as a CASA volunteer and a member of the P.A.W.S. Board.

Belinda Runnells, president of the AMS board, said Johnston was chosen from about a dozen applicants.

“Jennifer has strengths in working with the public and communications — both verbal and written,” Runnells said. “Several of the candidates were very well-qualified for the position, and much thought and discussion went into the selection. In the end, we felt Jennifer was the best fit for Ada Main Street and her position as manager.”

Johnston said she is looking forward to her new job.

“My job will be basically to just have good communication with the merchants downtown and the community of Ada, not just on Main Street, but anyone really who wants to be a part of seeing Ada grow and thrive and the downtown district flourish,” she said. “I think there’s nothing worse than driving through an old dilapidated downtown area with boarded- up windows and looking deserted.”

Johnston believes it’s important to bring businesses to Main Street.

“When you drive into Ada from almost any direction, you’re going to end up either passing across Main Street or coming straight down Main Street,” she said. “It’s an important part of Ada. I think if Main Street in Ada is doing well, the rest of the town is going to benefit too.”

Johnston said she would like to see more people coming to Ada as a destination.

“I would love for Ada to be a destination town,” she said. “Like you load up a group of friends and think, ‘We’re going to go on a little shopping trip today and have lunch,’ and do that in Ada and not drive to Norman or somewhere else, but to have Ada be a destination town.”

Johnston has two children who attend Latta schools. Her parents, Dr. T.J. and Jane Johnston, are active in the community.

“I think that has definitely affected my wanting to be involved in the community,” Johnston said.

Johnston said she wants to see Ada be the best town it can be.

“I’m just looking forward to building relationships with the downtown community and the rest of Ada,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to shop downtown Ada and other shops in Ada, not just downtown. Try to keep your business local. I think that’s going to be my motto is, ‘Try to keep it in Ada if you can.’ There might be times when you have to go out of town for something else, but there’s a good chance you can find what you need right downtown, and there’s always good parking.”

AMS said its purpose is to promote the economic growth and well-being of Ada, preserve and improve the historic value of downtown, create a quality business environment for both the business and the consumer and to be an ever-expanding informational resource for the downtown area.