A Buffalo, N.Y., Tops store that was the site of a racially motivated mass shooting in May, resulting in the deaths of 10 people with three others wounded, will “quietly and respectfully” reopen on the morning of July 15, according to the grocer.
On July 14, the two-month anniversary of the shooting, Tops Markets LLC officials, joined by various associates, residents, representatives and local dignitaries, will gather to reflect on the tragedy and solemnly commemorate the reopening of the fully renovated Jefferson Avenue store. A moment of silence and prayer will take place at 2:30 p.m. to honor those affected by the shooting.
Last month, Tops Markets President John Persons told reporters that the store would reopen with a different look and feel, Buffalo TV station WKBW reported. Store associates who didn’t wish to return to the Jefferson Avenue location had the option to relocate to a different store, Persons said at that time. The store originally opened in Buffalo’s underserved East Side neighborhood in July 2003.
In the wake of the shooting, Tops teamed with the nonprofit National Compassion Fund to establish the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, which will provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of those killed and people directly affected by the tragedy. The grocer contributed $500,000 to get the fund started.
Last month, the 18-year-old individual arrested for the shooting pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder as a hate crime and three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime, according to news reports. If convicted, he could receive a life sentence without parole.
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.