Chad Pysher and Steven Biter

Chad Pysher and Steven Biter

Founders and Owners

Chad and Steven chose Cambria City as their home in March 2011, when they began their entrepreneurial work with Cambria City Flowers. In 2015, Stella was created and since then, has grown to become the source of the largest private investment in business development and cultural and historical preservation in the Cambria City Historic District.

Originally from Lilly, Chad attended Bishop Caroll High School, Duquesne University and Robert Morris University, earning a Bachelor‘s Degree in Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Education and a Master’s Degrees in both Instructional Leadership and Administration. Living in the Pittsburgh area, Chad was a 6th grade teacher for 13 years, Instructor for Undergraduate and Graduate Programs in the Duquesne University School of Education and the Supervisor of the Supplemental Instruction and EXCEL Learning Programs at Carnegie Mellon University.

Steven is originally from Cresson. He attended Penn Cambria High School, Mount Aloysuis College and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Steven holds his Pennsylvania Funeral Directors License. After 25 years in the funeral industry, working in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and locally, Steven returned to Cresson and reestablished his mother‘s business, Charlotte’s Flowers, which gave birth to Cambria City Flowers.

Their varied professional backgrounds and shared passion for creating along with a deep love of tradition, culture and faith, has been the force behind Stella’s growth and success.

They fully believe that to see change in the world, one must be the change they want to see.

For them, Cambria City is not only where they have established their businesses, but where they worship and call home. Their hope is that many others see what can be accomplished in Cambria City and also become a part of its progress into the future.

They are profoundly grateful to their families and the community for supporting their ventures and for the team of people who have joined them on this journey.

They are proud of what they have built...guided by faith, it is truly the work of their hands.

Margaret Shannon

Margaret Shannon

Retail Director

Margaret “Maggie” Shannon grew up in Stoystown but has spent a great deal of her time in Johnstown with her extended family that live here.

As a member of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, she has always felt a connection to Cambria City and was very excited by the opportunity to become a greater part of the community.

Working for Stella and Cambria City Flowers has allowed her to be creative while utilizing her degree in Business Management. But even more than, Maggie says that the environment makes going to work a joy.

“It’s wonderful to work in a business that actually cares about the neighborhood in which it resides, she said.

Maggie has worked retail and customer service since she was eight years old, helping with the A.Y.S.O. concession stands in Somerset County. She’s worked at Idlewild & Soak Zone, Cato, and JCPenney to name a few.

Maggie‘s work is essential to the professional operation of Stella’s retail ventures. She works closely with Chad and Steven while maintaining inventory and merchandising practices to ensure the consistency of the Stella brand and connectivity between its ventures. Her responsibilities are always approached with the knowledge of our company’s standards and expectations to be the best for our community.

Maggie brings true joy to every moment. It is evident whether you find her at Cambria City Flowers, during one of our Markets or working at an event at the Casimir Cultural Center. We are proud to have Maggie as part of our Stella family.

Michael Walstrom

Michael Walstrom

Program Director and Historian

Michael Walstrom is from Latrobe, PA and came to Johnstown to attend the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Through an internship provided by the University, he had the opportunity to meet with the owners of Stella. After completing the internship and graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Minor in Political Science, Michael sought out Stella for the inviting and positive change that the company sought to provide its community.

Through working with Stella, he has grown to appreciate the rich history and beauty of Cambria City and is serving the community to showcase the uniqueness of the area.

Michael has a wide variety of experience in many fields including podcasting, academic/journalistic/and creative writing, photography, lecturing, tutoring, computer repair, and, of course, history.

He needed a career with as many outlets for creativity as he had interests and found that at Stella where he is the developer and administrator for the online home of the Cambria City Historic District, cambriacity.com and program developer for culturally-based programming. Michael can also be found performing in various dramatic events held at Stella’s venues throughout the year.

Michael’s love of learning, vibrant energy and creative mindset is balanced with an innate wisdom and practicality that produces well-conceived and thought-out work. He understands the importance of creating authentic experiences that educate and inspire. We are proud to have him as part of our Stella family.

Todd Stiffler

Todd Stiffler

Company Visual Artist and Resident Artist

Todd Stiffler of Public Art Johnstown is a true gift to Stella. We value his talent, his professionalism, and his friendship.

From the outdoor murals to the ceilings of the Casimir Cultural Center, the respect he shows for our vision, the historical and cultural importance of our properties/ventures and our shared desire to make the community better is shown in every one of his creations.

Our collaboration is an example of a for-profit company and its‘ owners using their private financial resources to make art an integral part of the restoration process while providing a benefit to the community they serve...a true ’Renaissance’ era approach to change.

We are proud to have Todd as part of our Stella family and work with him to transform the visual landscape of the center of the Cambria City Historic District with new, yet culturally relevant art.

Todd and Public Art Johnstown can be found creating at the Sitara Studios and Galllery, Emerich Place.

Thank you to Todd Berkey for the above photo.

Amy Harris

Amy Harris

Hospitality Host and Resident Artist

Amy is originally from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. She enjoys candle-making for The Reclaimed Flame, which is located at the Sitara Studio and Gallery at Emerich Place. She also enjoys thrifting, reading, and spending time with her animals.

Amy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor’s in English Literature and decided to stay in Johnstown because of the potential this area has - with that being a natural draw to Stella.

Amy loves how inclusive and caring everyone is, along with the clear passion, dedication, and commitment to growth that we everyone shares.

Getting to know everyone in the Stella family has been an absolute treat for Amy, and she is happy to be part of the team!

Amy can be found creating her thoughtfully crafted candles at the Sitara Studios and Gallery. She also brings her natural ability to blend ingredients and her hospitality experience to guests at Alchemie through mixing unique libations with the same care and intention.

Amy’s vibrant personality is contagious. She has a natural balance of spreading joy with a focused purpose and a realness that everyone who knows her, loves and appreciates. We are proud to have her as part of our Stella family.

Amy Wess

Amy Wess

Retail Host and Program Instructor

Amy Wess is a lifelong resident of Johnstown. She has been a student of yoga for 18 years. Her passion for the practice inspired her to become a yoga teacher. She has been teaching at a local yoga studio since 2014.

During the week, she works at a National Non-Profit, but on weekends can be found at Brigid’s Cross helping customers find the perfect treasure to enhance their spiritual journey.

She may or may not have insisted that she become part of the Stella team! "It is such a pleasure to be involved in the growth and development happening in Cambria City! Chad and Steven’s positive energy and enthusiasm and love for their neighborhood is contagious!"

Amy‘s genuine desire to want the best for those she knows and loves, but also for those she just meets, is evident in everything she does. She radiates calm, comfort and a listening ear. Her presence at Brigid’s Cross has been and will continue to be a blessing to many. We are proud to have Amy as part of our Stella family.

Erika Broas

Erika Broas

Retail Host and Resident Artist

Erika Broas (she/her) grew up in the Red Pine forests of West Michigan, moved around a lot, and landed in Johnstown in the Fall of 2021 with her partner and pet cat.

Considering herself a craftsperson, her specialty lies in fine jewelry and metal work, with knowledge in textiles, ceramics, and printmaking. Erika can be found creating her beautiful pieces at the Sitara Studios and Gallery.

Identifying wildflowers and making foraged bouquets has always been a passion of hers and working in a flower shop a dream. Proud to say she now works at Cambria City Flowers, Erika is elated to be working under Steven and Chad to formally learn the floristry trade. Ready to put down roots and stay awhile, she is excited to be a part of the community that surrounds Stella and the flower shop.

In her free time Erika can be found identifying native plants and wildflowers, swimming in river holes, riding her bike, reading a good fiction book, gardening, and cooking.

Erika’s love of nature…the beauty of its simplicity within its complexity…is evident in everything she creates from weaving the Crosses of Saint Brigid from Sterling Silver wire to designing unique floral designs. We are proud to have this creative force as part of our Stella family.

Nate Weiss

Nate Weiss

Resident Artist

Nate Weiss is a Blacksmith and Resident Artist at the Sitara Studios and Gallery.

Nate can be found creating housewares and other items for everyday use to various, unique artistic treasures.

During our SundayMarket series and our WorldMarket@EthnicFest, Nate will be featured in on-site demonstrations for visitors to experience the work and beauty of Blacksmithing.

We are proud to have Nate as part of our Stella family.

Derek Yonish - Matthew Rose - Thomas Bachorz

Property Project Consultants and Craftsmen

Derek, Matt and Tom are essential contributors to the progression of Stella’s repurposing and development of our properties.

Derek is a local expert in demolition techniques and prepping historical structures for repurposing. Matt is a wonderful craftsman whose natural excitement to recreate an old space is contagious and always produces the best work. Tom’s engineering and construction experience has proved essential in planning projects for the reuse of our properties.

They work closely with Steven and Chad in planning and execution of their work.

Their genuine desire to repurpose and renew our properties using reclaimed materials while maintaining the integrity and balance of structure with historical and aesthetic requirements is evident in their work.

We are proud to have them as part of our Stella family.

Waldorf and Statler

Waldorf and Statler

Mascots, Companions and Friends

Waldorf and Statler joined the Stella family in July 2021.

Rescued by Cat Aid Network and adopted by Steven and Chad, they are the best companions and friends to our entire team at Stella.

Their gentle natures bring joy to all of us at Stella and if you visit Sitara Studios and Gallery, they will be sure to greet you and share that same joy with you.