With locations in Carlisle, Camp Hill and Colonial Park/Harrisburg, the Mountz Jewelers story is built on a long standing tradition in retail. Ronald Leitzel and Tonia Leitzel Ulsh, the brother/sister team who own Mountz Jewelers, come from a family history of entrepreneurs from Central Pennsylvania.
The story began early on with their Great-great Grandmother’s store in Klingerstown, PA and continued with their Grandparent’s General Store in Malta, PA. In 1949, their uncle opened Leitzel’s Jewelry and Gifts in Millersburg, PA. His brother Marvin (Ron and Tonia’s father) was hired into the businesses in 1952. Ron entered the business in his early teens getting his first taste of the jewelry business. In 1967, the year his father Marvin purchased two Leitzel’s Jewelry and Gifts locations (Millersburg and Lykens), Ron committed to working full-time for Leitzel’s Jewelry under his father’s leadership.
In the summer of 1979, longtime friends, Vaughn and Jackie Mountz, made the decision to sell Mountz Jewelers to Marvin Leitzel, who secured ownership on October 1, 1979. The original Mountz Jewelers store was located in downtown Carlisle, PA - giving Marvin ownership of 3 retail locations. Ron’s focus was on managing and running the Mountz Jewelers location. In the mid-1980’s, Marvin gave him the opportunity to purchase the store.
Ron’s passion as an entrepreneur drove him to leverage new opportunities. A succession of jewelry stores under Ronald Leitzel’s ownership included Boyer’s Jewelers purchased in 1984, Bailey’s Diamond Center purchased in 1986, Bailey’s Diamond Exchange opened in 1992, and Floyd and Green Jewelers in Aiken, South Carolina, opened in 1992.
In 1987, Mountz Jewelers expanded east to Camp Hill to better serve a growing customer base in Central PA. Leitzel opened a custom built retail environment located in the Camp Hill Shopping Mall. In 1988, he opened a third Mountz Jewelers location by purchasing Diamond Jewelers in Briarcrest Square in Hershey, PA. Then in 1996, a fourth Mountz Jewelers location was opened by purchasing Macbeth Diamond Center in the Colonial Park Mall just outside of Harrisburg, PA.
Tonia Leitzel Ulsh joined the Mountz Jewelers team in 1989. Tonia experienced the retail culture first-hand during her childhood while working with her dad Marvin at Leitzel’s Jewelry in Millersburg. Prior to joining Mountz Jewelers, Tonia attended GIA (Gemological Institute of America) becoming a Graduate Gemologist Appraiser. After graduation Tonia worked part-time for her dad at Leitzel’s Jewelers and full-time for her brother at Mountz Jewelers. Tonia joined Mountz Jewelers full-time as a sales associate and appraiser during the Christmas of 1989. Tonia was instrumental in the growth of Mountz Jewelers implementing new ideas and programs. Tonia became a leader in the business climbing through the ranks and ultimately becoming a co-owner of the business in 2000.
At a time when independent jewelry stores were primarily constrained to the mall setting, Ron and Tonia had the vision to move the stores into free-standing locations to become destinations. The vision became a reality in 1998 when the Camp Hill location moved from the mall to its own free-standing location. Two years later, the Colonial Park store relocated just outside the mall into the newly renovated building that once housed the Colonial Park Fire Department. In 2002, the Hershey store was consolidated into the Colonial Park store. Then in 2007, the downtown Carlisle store was moved to a converted bank branch located on Walnut Bottom Road in Carlisle.
Marvin Leitzel’s trust and belief in his son and daughter formed the foundation of the creation of an organization that carries on his legacy to this day through Mountz Jewelers.