Tops Markets is merging with Schenectady-based supermarket chain Price Chopper/Market 32.
Tops is based in the Buffalo area and has 162 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, including 11 stores and 1,018 employees in Monroe County.
A company spokesperson says that including Monroe County, and Genesee, Livingston, Ontario and Wayne counties-- there are a total of 20 stores and 1,913 staffers.
Officials with the two companies say it will nearly double their collective footprint in the Northeast.
Scott Grimmett, Price Chopper/Market 32’s President and CEO, will be CEO of the new parent company, and will also serve on the board of directors. He will oversee the operations of nearly 300 Price Chopper, Market 32, Market Bistro and Tops Markets stores that will collectively employ more than 30,000 people.
Frank Curci, Tops Markets Chairman and CEO, will serve on the board of directors of the new parent company and as a consultant to assist in the transition.
The new parent company will be headquartered in Schenectady. The Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets businesses will retain main offices in Schenectady and Williamsville and will continue to be managed locally by their respective leaders.
“This merger marks a major step forward and collectively elevates our ability to compete on every level,” said Grimmett. “It leverages increased value for our customers; advances shared opportunities for innovation; fortifies the depth of our workforce, community and trade partnerships; and ultimately accelerates our capacity to deliver a distinctively modern and convenient shopping experience."
“I’ve seen tremendous change in our industry across my 65-year career and have long been an advocate for the promise of innovation and partnership, like that which has driven this merger forward,” said Neil Golub, Price Chopper/Market 32’s executive chairman of the board. “I can assure you that our commitment to sustaining and improving the communities in which we operate remains steadfast.”
John Persons, Tops Markets president and chief operating officer, will lead the Tops Market business.
“Tops has always put serving customers and providing an exceptional shopping experience at the center of everything we do, and this merger is no different,” said Persons. “Our associates, who take pride in their work and recognize the importance of the role they play in taking care of customers and communities, will continue to be the backbone of our company."
In terms of the impact of the merger on Tops Markets, and its customers, a spokesperson released this statement:
“Our stores are open and continue serving our customers and our communities as they always have. Price Chopper, Market 32 and Market Bistro stores are located in markets that are almost perfectly contiguous to the ones in which Tops Markets operates. We are working through the regulatory approval process and will provide updates as we bring our companies together. Rest assured, the merged companies expect to continue serving their communities and customers.”
Burt Flickinger, a supermarket analyst and Managing Director of Strategic Resource Group, says that for years, Tops has been hurt by bad financial decisions by prior investors. But he says Price Chopper should be a very good partner for Tops.
“Now Tops will have a partner that is very well capitalized, is a Triple-A credit for investment, runs warehouses and stores well." Flickinger says another advantage for Tops is that will be able to add a number of gas stations to its portfolio of services, since Price Chopper already operates its own gas stations at some supermarkets, as Tops does.
The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to regulatory approvals.