Adirondack locations to remain unchanged for now, says company
By Mike De Socio
Tops Markets will have a new parent company as part of a merger with the Schenectady-based Price Chopper/Market 32 grocery chain that was announced Monday.
The combined company will now manage more than 300 stores across the Northeast, including Tops Markets locations in Saranac Lake, Elizabethtown, AuSable Forks, Peru, North Creek, Bolton Landing, Warrensburg, Corinth and Northville.
Tops Markets has struggled in recent years, filing for bankruptcy in 2018 and leaving some Adirondack communities at risk of losing their only grocery store. But Tops emerged from bankruptcy the same year after parting with two pension plans with hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tops has a total 162 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, making it the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York, according to a press release. The new parent company will be headquartered in Schenectady, which is currently home to Golub Corp., the owner of Price Chopper/Market 32.
In the near term, Price Chopper/Market 32 says it does not intend on rebranding or closing any Tops locations.
“The regulatory process will dictate any changes that may have to be made, but given that Tops stores are located in markets that are almost perfectly contiguous to ours, we expect minimal impact,” said Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services, in an email.
Asked whether the merger will result in staff cuts or layoffs, Golub wrote that, “given the nature and growth of our business, we are continually hiring.”
Price Chopper/Market 32 had been looking at acquisitions as a way to grow since at least 2018, and said at the time it was waiting to see how the Tops bankruptcy would pan out.
“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, in a statement. “I can assure you that our commitment to sustaining and improving the communities in which we operate remains steadfast.”
Tops Markets will retain offices in Williamsville (suburban Buffalo), and stores will continue to be managed locally by their respective leaders, according to a press release.
Both companies have a long history as locally owned grocers in upstate New York. The first official Tops store was opened 1962 by a group of Italian immigrants in Niagara Falls, New York. The company has changed hands a number of times through the years, but returned to local ownership in 2013. It currently employs 14,000 associates.
Price Chopper/Market 32 was founded by the Golub family in 1932, and grew rapidly in the 80s and 90s. More recently, the company rebranded a number of its stores under the more upscale “Market 32” flag. It currently employs 18,000 people.