The Erie Canal Discovery Center announces George Fritz owner of Lockport’s Mills Jewelers has been named the winner of the 16th Annual Key to the Locks Award. A volunteer selection panel drawn from the Lockport community chose Mr. Fritz as a person who exemplifies the community spirit of the historic Erie Canal.
George Fritz has long been recognized in Lockport for his generous support of local nonprofit organizations and for his willingness to serve on committees that work to promote Lockport and its Erie Canal area. George has been a goodwill fixture in the Lockport Community for many years. A Lockport native, in his youth he was the downtown Lockport paperboy for the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, where he delivered papers to Mills Jewelers. In 1972, he was hired by Mills to wash the glass, sweep the floor, and run errands. He continued to work there through high school and college, eventually becoming the manager and then buying the business in 1989. George has served as president of the Downtown Lockport Business Association and as a board member of the Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in leading the effort to produce the Mural on Main Street, and was the chairman of the drive to save the Historic Palace Theatre in 2003. On any given day, you might see George on the Pine Street Bridge playing Lockport Ambassador to customers who are first-time visitors to Lockport. From day one, George has been a supporter of the historic Flight of Five Locks rehabilitation and the Lock Tenders Tribute. George Fritz is the grandson of Ida Fritz, the flower lady, who has a park dedicated to her name. He has a son Andy, a daughter Heather, and three beautiful granddaughters.