Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center

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Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center

Postby pseudo3d » 08 Jan 2018 15:34

I was reading about the history of Tops Friendly Markets, and in 1991, the same year it was acquired by Royal Ahold, they opened a 115,000 square foot "Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center" in Amherst, NY, which sounds like the super-sized early 1990s supermarkets everyone seemed to be opening in that time as average square footage of new builds shot up. But in trying to look up this store I found nothing, and from recent history Tops has downscaled its square footage in some stores to below 60,000 square feet instead of above 80,000. Does anyone know what happened to the ISC format, and when it vanished?

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Re: Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center

Postby rich » 10 Jan 2018 23:08

Did this open when Wegman's entered the Buffalo market? It seems like a response to the very large stores they had started to build.

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Re: Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center

Postby Groceteria » 11 Jan 2018 18:35

Wegmans had already been in the area for a decade or more by 1991, though they may have started building bigger stores around that time. I was only able to consult city directories for 1990 and 1998 when I was there doing research this summer. No reference to that format in either of those. It may have been a one-off experiment.

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Re: Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center

Postby Transit Road » 14 Jan 2018 03:09

The store is located at 3980 Maple Road in Amherst, NY .

Here is some background on the store from Wikipedia :

(Note: Wikipedia should not be taken as the official story of the store / brand, but it contains a good summary of what happened.)

"A new era began March 27, 1991 as Tops Friendly Markets, which had grown to 145 total stores and 11,000 associates, was acquired by Ahold, a major international food retailer based in the Netherlands. The same year, the first Tops Friendly Markets International Super Center opened in Amherst. At that time, the 112,000 square foot (10,080 m²) store was the largest in Western New York, and boasted the biggest in-store bakery in the entire U.S.

In the next few years additional Tops Friendly Markets International stores opened in Niagara Falls, West Seneca, Greece, and Perinton, New York. Also, a franchised International-style store, which operates as a Tops Friendly Market, was opened in Lockport. The International stores feature additional floor space and a product mix of many foods from different world cultures which up until then had not been widely available in the Buffalo area. With many Canadians at the time regularly crossing the border due to relaxed duties after the recently concluded Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the Canadian dollar at 90% of the value to its American counterpart, the new stores were in the right place at the right time and did even better business than expected."

"In 2004, Tops Friendly Markets fully remodeled a store in Perinton, and rebranded it Martin's Super Food Store[1] in an effort to revitalize the marketplace. Martin's Food Markets is a brand owned by Tops Friendly Markets' then-parent company, Ahold, via their subsidiary Giant-Carlisle. The stores were designed in a colorful manner in order to attract both new and old customers. The format worked well for the company, which prompted them to remodel another location in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst into the Martin's Super Food Store format, and then later three other stores in Dunkirk-Fredonia, Derby, and Batavia. As of April 16, 2006, the Martin's Super Food Store in Amherst reverted to a Tops Market due to customer feedback, and the company announced it would no longer pursue the Martin's brand in New York.

As of February 28, 2008, the remaining Martin's locations were all returned to the Tops Friendly Markets brand as part of the sale to Morgan Stanley Private Equity. The decision was made to operate the company under one banner going forward.[2]"

Ahold had planned to convert all Tops Friendly Markets to Martins, but customers hated the idea of losing an established local chain and the familiarity of the brand - it was a local success story. The chain had grown and prospered in the area (until Ahold became involved). People in the area are very parochial and do not like change, so the stores were converted back to Tops. The Amherst store is still at the same location as when it was first opened in 1991.

Also, the store is directly across the street from a Wegmans location and was previously a Twin Fair. ... 78.815742p

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