Fatur's Market checking out

| Sunday, Jan. 15, 2006

After nearly 79 years of serving the residents of Delmont and the surrounding area, Fatur's Market will close.

"The decision was made in October," said Roy Fatur, 65, whose parents, Tony and Cecelia Fatur, purchased the grocery store in 1927. "I've been trying to find a buyer since last spring."

Chuck and Ed Fatur, Roy's brothers, also helped with the store's daily operations. Both are now retired.

The store employs 40 workers. Many are part-timers and high school students.

Faye Stine, 62, of Delmont, has been a checkout clerk at Fatur's for almost 33 years.

"You'd be surprised at how you get to know the customers who have come in since I started working there," Stine said. "I especially remember Mrs. Fatur, Roy's mother. She rang on the register. I really liked her."

Cecelia Fatur kept her own cash register, said Jeanne Bowman, a former employee from Mamont.

"She really had to punch those keys and had to manually do the taxes in her head," Bowman said. "She was really something."

Bowman began working at Fatur's when she was in her 20s. The 48-year-old Export resident said the personal touch will be lost once the store closes.

"I worked there for 10 years and I've been a customer," Bowman said. "My mother was a customer, too. She would only buy meats from Fatur's. If you didn't buy meat from Fatur's, you didn't buy meat."

The late Marian Bowman was described by her daughter as a five-days-per-week Fatur shopper.

"Even when my mother became sick and couldn't go shopping, she would give us a check to get groceries at Fatur's for her," Bowman said. "She loved that store and all the people who worked there."

Roy Fatur said the store has always been known for its quality meats, fresh produce and successful deli business.

"My wife, Carol, works at the store and my two sons, Scott and Roy, also worked there when they were younger," he said. "We're on a good corner in Delmont on Athena Drive. I enjoy driving to work every day. I always knew something fun would happen."

Councilwoman Cher Anderson said she is saddened by the loss of the store, but glad that the Faturs can enjoy a well-earned retirement.

Borough residents, she said, will be left with not even a convenience store, and she thinks larger chains, such as Wal-Mart supercenters, partly are to blame.

Since Feb. 18, 2003, Fatur's has faced competition from a Wal-Mart on Route 22 in nearby Salem Township, near the Murrysville border.

Fatur's wasn't "big enough to compete with supermarkets," Anderson said.

The market was an "institution" that meant so much to the community, said Delmont Councilman Jim Bortz.

"All three of my children started their working careers there," Bortz said.

Stine, who works 15 to 20 hours a week, said she will try to rely just on her monthly Social Security check once the store closes.

"I don't know what I'll do without the store," she said.

Fatur harbors some hope that a buyer will come forward.

"I still have people I'm talking to about purchasing the store. It's not easy to walk away from it. It's not my druthers to quit. I'd like to do it a little longer, but someday you have to quit," he said.

There is no date set for the closing.

Delmont Mayor Frances R. Jennings said, "Fatur's has been a part of Delmont for many years. They have been generous to the community. Everything is for a reason and I'm hoping that their future years will bless them as they have blessed the community."

There will a hole in that community when the store shuts its doors.

"There will be a lot of tears when Fatur's closes," Bowman said. "It will be an end of an era."

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