MEXICO, NY – Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont, announced Thursday that the company has entered into an agreement with the Farrugia family to acquire three Big M supermarkets.
Mike Farrugia, of the Farrugia family and current store(s) manager confirmed the deal Thursday afternoon.
“Actually, they have been interested in us for a while. It’s nothing that we pursued. They pursued us,” he told Oswego County Today. “It’s nothing that we ever really anticipated. We have four stores altogether and they are buying three of the four.”
The stores are located at 227 E. Main St., in Elbridge, 9 Mechanic St., Jordan, at 3385 Main St., Mexico.
This marks the third acquisition deal this year for Tops and will expand Tops’ footprint further into areas of northern and central New York State.
The planned acquisition of the three stores follows the 2010 acquisition of the Penn Traffic stores and the acquisitions of 21 Grand Union stores and a store in North Boston, NY, earlier this year.
“I am an optimist that hopes that Tops will improve the store and be a ‘Community Friendly’ store, as the Big “M” has been,” Mexico Deputy Mayor Jim Hotchkiss told Oswego County Today. “Tops would be tops in the minds of their shoppers if they were to retain the current employees and management.”
“Every employee (at the Mexico store) is being hired; every single one,” Farrugia said. “And, hopefully it’s going to create new jobs as well.”
There are approximately 161 associates employed at the three locations and Tops will offer all associates at each location continued employment with Tops and operate all stores without any interruption in service upon closing (the deal), according to a statement by Frank Curci, Tops Markets’ president and CEO.
“I hope all the staff stays on. I’ll miss them all,” Farrugia said. “The best way, I guess, for me to sum it up is it is because of the people that work here, that’s the reason why Tops is interested in these stores. They have made it the success that it is. I’m just their boss, they did the work. They made it what it is. That makes me very proud that we have stores that a very large company is interested in.”
They will probably bring in their own Tops brand label on some items, Farrugia said.
“We had meetings yesterday with all of our staff. We met with and talked with everybody about Tops’ plan and their representatives came in as well. They talked with everybody as well,” he said. “Right now I kind of imagine everybody’s in shock. It’s fear of change. Let’s face it, it’s change for everybody.”
Farrugia said he believes it will be a positive many areas “but it will be different in a lot of areas.”
“It’ll be tough; it’s tough on me. It’s a long part of my heart. My dad started our Elbridge store in 1968. I worked this business full-time for 35 years,” he said. “I’ll be moving on with my career. We still have one supermarket left.”
“We are excited about this growth opportunity for Tops, as we bring these new stores into the Tops family,” Curci said in a press release. “These stores are a natural addition to our current footprint and we look forward to meeting the needs of our new neighbors and customers, providing them with a positive shopping experience that focuses on variety, freshness, convenience and exceptional value.”
“First and foremost, the Farrugia family would like to thank the Elbridge, Jordan and Mexico communities for their many years of loyal support starting in 1968 in Elbridge,” Farrugia said. “Because of this support, we were able to grow into an organization employing close to 200 associates. We feel that the addition of Tops Markets will enhance the ability for future employment as well as the capacity to upgrade these stores to the benefit of these communities for years to come. Again, we thank everyone for their many years of loyal support.”
The sale is expected to close by December 31.
The purchase is subject to customary closing conditions.
Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Tops Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY, and operates 151 full-service supermarkets – 146 company-owned and five franchise locations under the Tops, Grand Union and Bryant’s banners.
With more than 15,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont.
For more information about Tops Markets, visit www.topsmarkets.com