East Huntingdon grocery store to close by end of month
JK’s County Market grocery store in East Huntingdon is closing its doors after 35 years.
According to owner John “JK” Krystyniak, the store will close at the end of the month — a decision he called “the end of an era.” He did not provide a specific date for when the store would close.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Krystyniak said. “There’s a lot of really good people working here, they have a lot of really great skills.”
He attributed the decision to close to a changing culture of people not preparing meals at home, a declining population in the area and an overabundance of grocery stores. In the immediate area around JK’s County Market, there is Aldi, a German discount grocery chain that opened in East Huntingdon in January, Walmart and Save-A-Lot.
“The shopping public is trading down to focus just on price instead of the product,” he said.
After earning two degrees in engineering, Krystyniak decided to work with family in food retail for 10 years, eventually starting JK’s County Market, a business that hands out annual scholarships for high school students and focuses on customer service. According to the website, the grocery store, located in the Countryside Plaza off Route 819, has a seafood section, deli and bakery.
“I was surprised in one way but not surprised in another way,” said customer Coralee Fosbrink. “I mean, you have the Walmart right here. And when they opened the Aldi’s, I figured that would start to hurt here, too. … I’m sorry to see them close, I really am.”
Fosbrink, 78, of Connellsville, said she has been shopping at the store for several years.
Krystyniak declined to comment on how many employees worked at the store. He said they had all been informed of the closure and he was working to help them find new jobs.
Reida Miller, 51, of Mt. Pleasant, has worked as a County Market cashier for 23 years. She said she does not know what she is going to do once the store closes.
“I was surprised,” Miller said. “I’m really going to miss it. I look forward to coming into work every day and talking to different people.”
Fosbrink added, “I always came here to get my shrimp at Christmas and picnics and stuff like that. I always liked their baked goods, and I come here for spaghetti sauce, too, believe it or not. It’s the only place I can find Rizzo’s spaghetti sauce. I’m sorry to see them close. It’s just a sign of the times. … Too many big box stores.”
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .