Cruchelow Jewelry & Loan, located at Cobb Parkway and Mack Dobbs Road, was closed Monday, with little merchandise remaining inside the store, which took up two suites in the Mack Dobbs Point shopping center. The store opened late last year despite a stipulation in the strip mall’s 2004 zoning that prohibited a pawnshop from opening there.
“I couldn’t really believe it,” said Bill Harris, a nearby resident who has maintained a website critical of the store. “It’s too easy.”
A city oversight, and subsequent council approval, allowed the store to get business, pawn and precious metal licenses. But the Kennesaw City Council voted 5-0 on May 16 to deny a request from property owner Celestino Venturi to amend the zoning and allow the pawnshop to stay open, paving the way for the store’s closure.
The final vote was the last step in the back and forth between Venturi, store owners John and Serena Cruchelow, the city and residents of nearby Summer Stream and Summerbrooke subdivisions. After the May meeting, Venturi’s attorney, Garvis Sams, said he planned to fight the decision in Cobb Superior Court, but efforts to reach him and Venturi were unsuccessful Monday afternoon.
The Cruchelows’ lawyer, Michael Pryor of Atlanta, said he didn’t know of the store closing and couldn’t comment on what his clients’ next step might be.
The store had been threatened with closure before city council once before. An April 2 hearing was called to determine if the pawnshop violated a state law prohibiting pawn brokers from having the word “loan” in their name. But Mayor Mark Mathews said the city had no ordinance prohibiting such advertising in its ordinance, which meant it had no jurisdiction to enforce the law.
On Monday, Kennesaw city officials were either unavailable, didn’t know about the case or didn’t return phone calls seeking comment.
Harris said a neighbor noticed activity outside the store over the weekend. He later went to check the site for himself and saw it was “90 percent” empty, with some rugs and other items left.
“They may have already opened somewhere else,” Harris said. “As long as it’s not in my neighborhood.”
In April, the Cruchelows said they could not afford to move to a new location because they had already spent $40,000 to remodel and stock the Mack Dobbs Point store.
Calls to the pawnshop went unanswered Monday.