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Longtime Leechburg jewelers say store is closing

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 11:24 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Diane Krutz, left, store manager, and her mother, Stella Krutz, wiill close Krutz Jewelers on Market Street in Leechburg on December 31st after 27 years in business. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

After 27 years of operation, Krutz Jewelers in Leechburg will close its doors at the end of the month.

The jewelry store, which the Krutz family bought from the Seita family in 1985, is set to close Dec. 31, according to Diane Krutz, daughter of the owners. “My dad (William) died in 2007, my mom (Stella) is 81 — it's time for her to retire — and I'm ready to go on to another part of my life,” Diane Krutz, 51, said. “With the economy being how it's been, it's been tough to keep this thing going.”

Krutz said her father had been in the jewelry business his entire life.

“My dad worked for Coleman Jewelers in Monroeville and, when the Seitas decided to sell the store, my parents bought it,” she said of the store located at 146 Market Street. “This was my dad's dream.”

Leechburg Mayor Tony Roppolo said there will be a large hole in the borough when the Krutzes shut their doors for good. “The entire community feels sad about it,” Roppolo said. “It's going to be a town void.

“I've had, I don't know how many, comments from people around the borough saying ‘We're really going to miss Krutz.' ”

Roppolo said places like Krutz Jewelers make Leechburg special.

“We have so many old style stores,” he said. “We have very few empty storefronts.

“You can't get service like Krutz had everywhere.”

Making Krutz's service all the more special are its three employees: Sandy Kridler, who has worked at the store for 23 years, Michelle Ferretti who's worked there for 20 years, and Francie Strapac, employed at the store for 16 years.

“It's just the best place to work,” said Strapac, 62, a retired teacher. “We're one big family.

“It's like part of your life is gone,” she said. “ We couldn't have asked for nicer employers.”

Diane Krutz said she hopes to open a new store in the building that currently houses the jewelry store in the coming years.

“Not any time soon,” she said. “But we own the building, so I won't rule out doing another business here in the future.”

Until then Krutz, a breast cancer survivor, will continue to sell the special breast cancer awareness rings she created for the store at her website PinkiePromiseRing.com.

Krutz said closing the store was a hard decision.

“We've loved serving the community,” she said. “Everyone here is so loyal to small town business. We have nothing but good memories.

“We've been here for everyone's graduation, engagement, and wedding.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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