Tops Friendly Markets, LLC, (TOPS) is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 126 full-service supermarkets and five franchise supermarkets. With over 13,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, and northern Pennsylvania, and the company shows no signs of slowing down.
Tops Markets history of serving its neighbors' supermarket needs began in 1962 when Ferrante Castellani opened Great Bear Market, a small grocery store in Niagara Falls, NY. His son Armand became manager of the store, and eventually formed a partnership with Thomas Buscaglia to develop what would ultimately from the basis of the Tops chain. Expansion across New York and into Pennsylvania began in the 1970's. 1991 was a pivotal year when Tops was acquired by Koninklijke Ahold NV, a major international food retailer based in the Netherlands, and in 2001 formed an alliance with Giant Food Stores, another Ahold company, based in Carlisle, PA.
In December, 2007 Tops Markets was sold to Morgan Stanley Private Equity, a decision which has allowed the company to once again return to its roots as an independent, locally operated organization, and embrace the opportunity to rebuild its presence as a proud, western New York-born grocer following several years of being managed outside of the area. Tops has successfully reestablished relationships with community and business partners, brought hundreds of jobs back to the areas in which it operates, and has helped pump millions of dollars into the local economy.
In January, 2010, Tops completed the court-approved acquisition of a majority of Penn Traffic's assets, including its 79 supermarkets. Of those stores, Tops is currently operating 55 of those locations, increasing Tops' total store count to 131.
Today, Tops considers its stores to have a "neighborhood grocer" feel - each store customized to fit the community it surrounds, with the product mix reflecting the cultural and ethnic variety of the individuals who encompass the upstate New York, central New York and northern Pennsylvania areas.
Tops Markets strives to meet the dynamic needs of the time-sensitive consumer. Just some of the amenities shoppers will experience inside Tops locations include in-store pharmacies; in-store butchers, where meat is cut fresh every day; in-store bakeries, and ready-to-eat prepared foods in the stores' Carry Out Cafés. In most locations, Tops also includes on-site fuel stations where customers can take advantage of Tops' Gas BonusPoints program. In addition, Tops makes available state-of-the-art technology throughout the store including recipe kiosks, EasyWeigh stations and EasyScan (self-scan) checkout lanes.
Tops maintains a weekly promotional pricing strategy and outstanding vendor relationships, which allow the company to focus on providing an excellent value to their shoppers through a variety of discounts and added value programs through their TOPS BonusPlus® loyalty program.
Tops Markets recognizes the hard work of their associates and ensures career growth within the organization. Associates have opportunities for professional development and a hands-on approach to learning the "ins and outs" of the food industry. Management training programs, corporate career opportunities, tuition reimbursement and internship programs, are just some of the advantages for Tops' associates. In conjunction with the local union, associates and their family members also have the opportunity to receive scholarships.
Throughout its marketing areas, Tops' motto, "Living Here, Giving Here," rings loud and clear. With a community citizenship mission focused around eradicating hunger and improving the quality of life for children, the company donates over $10 million annually supporting various health, cultural, charitable and educational. Senior management at Tops serve as board members for various organizations including the local chambers, food banks, March of Dimes, various chapters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Junior Achievement, and local women and children's hospitals.
Part of the plan for the future of Tops is an extensive remodel and expansion plan over the next five to seven years. Tops will continue to build on its successes in its core market areas with an increased emphasis on value, health and wellness, technology, and customer convenience.
Since it's founding in 1962, Tops Friendly Markets has never stopped saving customers money, providing quality selection and service, and giving back to the community. The same close-knit customer association and neighborhood feeling remains a vital part of the success of the company, just as it did in the beginning.