December 4, 2021

Merger won’t close 2 stores

Tops, Price Chopper locations in C’ville staying open amid deal

Jamie Costa/staff reporter

Lindsey Smith loads her car with groceries Tuesday at Price Chopper in Cortlandville.

Despite a merger between the Schenectady-based Price Chopper and Williamsville-based Tops Friendly Market, both stores will remain open in Cortlandville, even though they’re only 2 miles apart.

The two supermarket chains announced their plan Monday to merge, creating a 292-store chain stretching from Buffalo to New England.

“The footprints of both stores are perfectly contiguous where we don’t need to close either,” said Mona Golub, vice president of public relations for Price Chopper. “The businesses are both growing and we are taking initiatives to hire more people.”

Golub says that the brand names in Cortlandville will stay the same, and so will their practices.

Which is just fine with Jessica Smith of Homer, so long as they keep the convenient store open — which in her case is the Tops location on Route 281.

“I’m hoping when they merge, they’ll merge the deals from both stores,” said Jessica Smith.

The merger will largely double the market areas for both stores, said Scott Grimmett, president and CEO of Price Chopper, creating a conglomerate that spans six states and employs 32,000 people. None of the Cortlandville jobs will be eliminated, Golub said.

“This merger marks a major step forward and collectively elevates our ability to compete on every level,” Grimmett said in a statement.

On Tuesday, shoppers at both Cortlandville stores had heard about the merger and wondered when the change would take place and what it would mean for them.

“I like Price Chopper better because the prices are cheaper,” said Walt Neuman of Onondaga County. He wants prices to remain fair, but worries about reduced competition. “It’s crazy; it’s going to cost us more money.”

The merger, which Grimmett expects will take until the spring to complete, should be largely invisible to customers, reports the Albany Times Union. The two banners will be standalone companies that report to the parent.

But the combination will bring immediate advantages to the company on a corporate level, allowing for better negotiation with vendors and suppliers; layoffs are unlikely.

“We will use every legal measure to make sure our members are treated fairly, and we look forward to working with the new management, as we always have, to ensure our members have stable employment,” Frank C. DeRiso, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local One, which represents Tops employees, told the Times Union.