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Tops Friendly Markets Grows Footprint in Western New York

Company plans to remodel newly acquired locations
Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
The acquisition includes four full-service Tops stores located in Depew, Lockport, South Buffalo, and Buffalo’s West Side as well as one Tops Xpress store in Lancaster.

Northeast Grocery Inc. is growing its corporate-owned footprint.

The company's Tops Friendly Markets division announced it has acquired five store locations that had been owned and operated by Supermarket Management, Inc. (SMI), a longstanding franchise partner of Tops. The acquisition includes four full-service Tops stores located in Depew, Lockport, South Buffalo, and Buffalo’s West Side as well as one Tops Xpress store in Lancaster. 

The newly acquired stores will remain open and continue to operate as Tops Markets under their current store management teams. Tops will retain all 585 associates across the five locations, and there will be no disruption in store operations, including pharmacy services. 

“At Tops Friendly Markets, we’re committed to serving the grocery needs of our communities. This commitment fuels our ongoing work to identify strategic opportunities to grow and expand, and it inspired our team’s excitement for this latest acquisition. Adding SMI’s five locations will strengthen our corporate store network and enable us to serve more customers across Western New York,” said Tops Friendly Markets President Ron Ferri. “Importantly, because we have worked so closely with SMI over the years, we are in a great position to provide a seamless transition for our associates and customers, who will enjoy a consistent experience with all stores remaining open and serving them as Tops Markets.”

Supermarket Management, Inc., a family-owned company led by SMI President Philip Perna, has been a franchisee of Tops Friendly Markets for more than 60 years. In the early 1950s, the late Joseph Perna and Frank Perna began their grocery industry careers, becoming affiliated with Tops in 1963 when they opened one of the first franchised Tops locations in Lockport. Since then, the Perna family has contributed to Tops’ growth by focusing on reliably meeting customer needs at their five successful store locations.  

“It certainly won’t be easy for us to leave a business that has meant so much to our family but we are proud of our efforts to serve the communities our stores are located in and thankful for our wonderful associates and loyal customers who have made our work so gratifying,” Perna said. “We are happy that our stores will remain part of the Tops family and confident that it will provide our customers and associates with the shopping and career experiences that they have relied on us to provide.”

“The Perna family has worked tirelessly to serve Tops customers for over six decades, dating back to some of our company’s earliest days,” Ferri said. “We are proud to honor the impact and legacy of the Perna family and all the franchisees who helped build our company.”

In the coming months, Tops will invest more than $8 million in renovating the store locations at 5827 S. Transit Rd., in Lockport, 5175 Broadway in Depew, and 425 Niagara St. in Buffalo. These stores will remain open during renovations. The company says it will then actively pursue future investments and renovations at 1989 Seneca St. in Buffalo as well as at the Tops Xpress at 470 Aurora St. in Lancaster. These renovations will complement the slew of other renovations taking place at Tops locations over the past five years; Northeast Grocery has also been remodeling several Price Chopper store locations as well.

After acquiring the five stores operated by SMI, the Tops store network continues to have one more franchisee-owned location in Lewiston, N.Y. 

The agreement with SMI was finalized on April 26, 2024, with the expected transition to take place within 30-45 days from this announcement. Full terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

In addition to retaining their current positions, store associates and management teams will now have greater career-advancement opportunities within the larger corporate enterprise of Northeast Grocery Inc. 

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Friendly Markets operates 148 stores New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. It is the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York, with over 14,000 associates. Parent company Northeast Grocery Inc. is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 

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