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Tops Friendly Markets

Tops Friendly Markets opened in 1962 officially after co-founder Armand Castellani watched his father in the grocery business and worked there himself. The first Tops Friendly Markets was 25,000-square-feet and located near Niagara Falls in New York State. While not originally called Tops, it was soon named that after a franchisee suggested changing the name to describe the shopping experience.

In 1962, franchise systems were established for supermarkets, under the Tops Friendly Markets name, and for smaller stores as B-Kwik. In 1968, Tops Friendly Markets went public and acquired general merchandise distributor G&G Sales and Service. The following year, Tops Friendly Markets entered the C-store world with the opening of Wilson Farms Neighborhood Food Store in Tonawanda, NY.

After being a publicly traded company for almost 20 years, Tops Friendly Markets was purchased by SB investors in 1983 and two years later, SB became Tops Friendly Markets Inc. and took the company public once again. However, one year later, Tops Friendly executives and private equity firm Riordan, Freeman and Spogli leveraged a buyout for $196 million.

In 2018, after a series of store closures, Tops Friendly Markets filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the chain emerged 6 months later after cleating $720 million in debt.

In February 2021, Tops announced that they had entered into a definitive merger agreement with Price Chopper Supermarkets. The new parent company will be headquartered in Schenectady, New York. The Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets businesses will retain main offices in Schenectady and Williamsville and will continue to be managed locally by their respective leaders. The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Key Data: Tops Friendly Markets

Headquarters: Amherst, NY

U.S. Retail Banners: Tops Friendly Markets

2020 Sales: $2.6 billion

2020 Store Locations: 167

Annual Growth (Top 50)

CEO: Frank Curci

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