News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE:
 April 18, 2023
CONTACT: Kathy Sautter
76 635 5577

   
TOPS JEFFERSON AVE STORE TO BE CLOSED ON MAY 14, WITH BUS SERVICE MADE AVAILABLE TO ENSURE COMMUNIT
New outdoor memorial at the store, shaped by community design process, to be installed later this ye

Williamsville, N.Y. – Tops Friendly Markets plans to close its Jefferson Avenue store on Sunday, May 14, 2023, to support the community’s healing as Western New York remembers the victims, honors the survivors and reflects on Buffalo’s response and recovery in the aftermath of last year’s horrible acts of violence, racism and domestic terrorism. The store will reopen on Monday, May 15 at 7am and resume normal operating hours.

Recognizing the importance of community access to food and household essentials, Tops will provide a free bus service from the parking lot of the Jefferson Avenue store to its Elmwood Avenue location every hour on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 14th. The company will post signs at the store beginning April 30 to inform customers of the bus service.

This closure will also provide Tops associates who work at the Jefferson Avenue store time for themselves and their families on a difficult and emotional day.

“One year later, our hearts still ache for the victims, survivors, their families and our community, and we reflect with gratitude for everyone who responded to this hateful, racist attack with abundant love for our neighbors,” said John Persons, President of Tops Markets. “Our collective healing is helped by the way people in Western New York came together and the way we continue to show up for each other. We are inspired by the ongoing resiliency of our associates, who have helped us carry forward the mission we’ve maintained since first opening this store: serving the needs of our community. As we remember the lives lost and altered on that day, we deepen our resolve to support and uplift the Jefferson Avenue community.”

As part of the healing process, Tops plans to install a permanent memorial on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Landon Street later this year. The design process was led by local firm Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect, PC, and shaped by input and guidance from the Honor Space Planning Committee, which consists of community members, survivors, family members of the victims, and company associates.

This memorial is in addition to the company’s participation in New York State’s May 14 Memorial Commission, which is working with civic leaders and community members to develop and advise on a structure to memorialize the life and legacy of the 10 Black residents who died in the white supremist attack.

In the weeks following May 14, 2022, Tops completed a full renovation of the Jefferson Avenue location, including a new storefront, a new interior layout and additional security measures. Inside the store, the company installed a memorial waterwall for remembrance and reflection, as well as new flooring, LED lighting and several improvements that enhanced offerings, such as 30 percent more produce with a focus on organic options, additional dairy products, more in-store bakery goods and an expanded prepared food case for meals-to-go. Exterior renovations included new landscaping and a repaved parking lot. The fully renovated store opened July 15, 2022.

Over the past year, area businesses, foundations, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens have come together to address longstanding, systemic obstacles faced by the community. Tops has embraced its role in these efforts, strengthening existing relationships and building new ones, while also expanding its focus on serving as a platform for Black-owned businesses, particularly regional food and beverage manufacturers. Company-wide initiatives have brought more products to store shelves from minority-owned businesses, creating not only more choice for customers, but also investing and amplifying the work of Black entrepreneurs.

“This has been an emotional time for our city, but most of all for the families and survivors impacted by the racially motivated mass shooting,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “I would like to thank Tops Friendly Markets President John Persons for his commitment to the community. I would also like to thank Diane Colgan, vice president of Tops Friendly Markets, for her participation in our 5/14 Remembrance Committee and for her help with organizing 5/14 Remembrance Weekend. We hope the weekend of prayer, remembrance and reflection will help the continued healing for all of us.”

Mayor Byron Brown and several community partners, including Tops, recently announced community wide events taking place May 12-14. “5/14 Remembrance Weekend of Reflection, Healing & Hope” events include a panel discussion focused on combating white supremacy and social media radicalization, a community gathering focused on reflection, healing and hope, and a memorial service honoring the lives lost and the lives impacted by the racially motivated mass shooting on May 14th.

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About Tops Friendly Markets Based in Williamsville, NY, Tops Markets currently operates 149 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. As the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York, with over 14,000 associates, the company is dedicated to providing sustainably sourced, high-quality products, while helping its communities flourish via support for programs that eradicate hunger and disease, educate youth and reduce environmental waste and energy consumption. For more information, visit www.topsmarkets.com.

 

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