The Grand Union in Elizabethtown. 2012
ELIZABETHTOWN — The familiar chain of Grand Union supermarkets throughout the North Country that became Tops supermarkets in 2001 — only to revert back to Grand Union several years later — will once again be known as Tops.
Tops Friendly Markets announced Thursday, July 19, it had entered into an agreement with Grand Union Markets LLC, to acquire 21 facilities located in upstate New York and Vermont, according to a release by the company.
The Grand Unions purchased by Tops include stores in the following Adirondack locations: Elizabethtown, Au Sable Forks, two locations in Saranac Lake (Lake Flower Avenue and Church Street), Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Schroon Lake, Corinth, Warrensburg, North Creek, Northville and Peru.
Tops has also purchased several Vermont locations including Hardwick, Northfield and Rutland.
Tops officials said the local stores will still be called Grand Union until the transfer is complete, which is expected to happen this fall. The acquisition will bring the number of Tops stores to 153 and will expand Tops’ footprint further into areas of northern and eastern New York state and neighboring northern Vermont.
“We are very excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, especially since these stores are a natural extension of our current footprint,” said Frank Curci, Tops Markets president and CEO. “We are looking forward to having these stores and the surrounding communities become part of the Tops family.”
Grand Union Markets LLC is an affiliate of C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Keene, N.H.
“We believe this transition makes excellent strategic sense for both organizations,” said Michael Newbold, EVP and Chief Administrative Officer for C&S Wholesale Grocers. “It allows Tops to strengthen its retail network, while C&S will continue to focus on its core business of providing innovative supply and logistics solutions to its wholesale customers. C&S very much appreciates its deep partnership with Tops and looks forward to the second decade of our relationship.”
In 2001, the original Grand Union supermarket company sold 20 of its North Country stores to Tops during Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The 20 stores involved in the 2001 sale were: North Creek, Indian Lake, Ticonderoga, Port Henry, Willsboro, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Keeseville, two in Saranac Lake, Whitehall, Champlain, Elizabethtown, Au Sable Forks, Chestertown, Bolton Landing, Schroon Lake, Warrensburg, Peru and Hamilton. Only 10 of these stores are part of the 2012 sale. While the announcement was made in February 2001, they made the transition to Tops on March 6, 2001.
In 2005, Tops sold the following 12 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers, which called them Grand Union Friendly Markets: Elizabethtown, Au Sable Forks, two in Saranac Lake, Bolton Landing, Chestertown, Schroon Lake, Warrensburg, North Creek, Peru, Corinth and Hamilton.
Only 11 of these stores are part of the 2012 sale; faced with stiff competition from Price Chopper, the Hamilton Grand Union closed in 2009. Some stores, like the one in Tupper Lake, were sold (to Price Chopper), and others were simply closed, such as the one in Lake Placid. Tops announced in July 2005 that it was seeking buyers for 31 stores in New York, including the 20 North Country stores it bought from Grand Union in 2001. The sale was made in October 2005, and they made the transition to the 12 Grand Union stores on Feb. 13, 2006.
During its latest transition, Tops plans to offer employment to the approximately 600 employees at all 21 stores without any interruption in service upon closing of the sale.
The purchase is subject to customary closing conditions. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Tops Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville and operates 132 full-service supermarkets — 127 company-owned and five franchise locations. With more than 14,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's website at www.topsmarkets.com.
(Andy Flynn contributed to this story.)