Giunta’s Produce closes in North Apollo |
Valley News Dispatch

Giunta’s Produce closes in North Apollo

Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Customers say Giuntas Produce in North Apollo closed earlier this year without warning.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Giuntas Produce in North Apollo closed earlier this year. The property now is up for sale.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
Now that Giuntas Produce in North Apollo is closed, residents in the area are without a local produce market.
Joyce Hanz | For the Tribune-Review
A popular produce market in the Kiski Valley, Giuntas Produce closed suddenly this year and the property is for sale.

An iconic and once bustling produce market in North Apollo won’t be reopening this season.

Giunta’s Produce Market at 2106 River Road closed in January. It was listed for sale March 22 for $395,000.

Giunta’s opened in 1954, originally owned and operated by three brothers — Joe, John and Mike Giunta.

Toni Giunta, wife of Joe , is one of the listing agents for the property.

The business most recently was purchased from the Giuntas in 2016 by Bernie and Tammy Eckman of East Vandergrift when the Giunta brothers decided collectively to retire.

Under Eckman’s management, Giunta’s operated year-round from 2016 until January but recent social media posts by customers revealed the store had closed and the business’ Facebook page has been removed.

Attempts to contact the Eckmans for comment were unsuccessful.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Joe Giunta of Plum. “I feel bad it didn’t work out.”

Giunta’s developed a loyal following throughout the decades, back when there were “mom and pop stores on every corner,” Giunta said.

Giunta’s was known for personalized customer service, fresh fruits and vegetables, gift baskets, hanging baskets, flowers and candy — especially jelly beans.

Angel Boop, 22, of West Leechburg said she just started shopping at Giunta’s last year and “loved it there.”

“We liked that everything was fresh, the prices were great and everyone was always so friendly — especially to the kids,” Boop said. “They always gave my son either a pretzel or lollipop.”

Then they closed without warning, she said.

“We drove by one day to get produce, and they were closed up,” Boop said. “Sad to see them go. Their Facebook was gone completely, and they didn’t post they were closing up shop or anything.”

Leechburg resident Mark Foster will miss Giunta’s, too.

“I can remember going there as a kid, and it was the best place to buy fruits and vegetables,” Foster said. “I used them for produce when I ran the fish fry at the Leechburg fire hall, and I was going to buy large jellybeans there (a Giunta’s tradition). And I saw the ‘for sale’ sign and realized they were closed. It’s sad. I hope it’s not the end of an era.”

The main building offers more than 5,000 square feet of interior space situated on a level 1.2-acre lot.

The B2-zoned commercial property listing notes there are three large walk-in coolers, two greenhouses, a forklift, 50-foot refrigerated trailer in a fenced- in back lot, a safe and security system.

Foster, 59, said he hopes to one day shop again at Giunta’s.

“I would like to see it open back up as a produce market,” Foster said.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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