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Tops to Add Jobs with State Help, Keep HQ in Buffalo

Tops Markets, LLC said yesterday it has signed a long-term lease to remain in its current operating headquarters in Williamsville, N.Y. and will add as many as 140 back-office jobs in western part of the state, having received a $1.2 million grant from the Empire State Development Corp. to help fund the job growth initiative. The grant helps fill the gap left by a terminated shared services agreement with ex-parent Ahold .

Tops broke the news at a press conference at the Buffalo headquarters of the ESDC, with Tops president and c.e.o. Frank Curci, New York State governor David Paterson, and ESDC upstate chairman Daniel C. Gundersen in attendance.

"Ever since the sale of Tops Markets to Morgan Stanley Private Equity was announced last December, our goal has been to once again make Tops a local company," said Curci. "We now have a long-term commitment to a local headquarters and a growing local work force. [The] grant announcement by the Empire State Development Corporation is a significant piece in our plan to handle all facets of Tops' operations here."

"With this deal, Empire State Development, the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, and local economic development partners are helping to pull jobs back from Pennsylvania to western New York where they belong, and ensuring that Tops remains a name brand for decades to come," added Gundersen.

The grant will help Tops with costs relating to information technology and the acquisition and installation of equipment and machinery at the headquarters. Tops said it would invest more than $5.4 million to create up to 140 new jobs, and has committed to retaining the 145 employees who already work there.

Some new employees would be responsible for certain day-to-day operational responsibilities, including accounting, purchasing, and information systems, that are now handled through a shared services agreement with Ahold USA, Tops' former owner. These functions would move from Carlisle, Pa. to Tops' N.Y. headquarters.

"The increase in jobs will be gradual as we assume responsibility for all operations, and the Tops leadership team makes final decisions on areas within our business that are in need of additional staff support," explained Curci.

"We found it to be in the best interests of Tops and our valued customer base to stay local," said Curci. "After considering several possibilities it became clear that our best option was to remain and grow in our current location."

Previously, the Amherst Industrial Development Agency approved an incentive package for Tops, to assist with office renovation, and expansion, and equipment acquisition.
Employing over 10,000 associates, Tops operates 71 full-service supermarkets and five franchise supermarkets.
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