Tops Friendly Markets has promoted Aaron Payne to vice president of marketing and promotional strategy for the Shared Services Center, which supports Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32 following the supermarket chains’ merger last fall.
In the new role, Payne will oversee a team responsible for devising and executing marketing strategy and promotional plans for nearly 300 Tops, Price Chopper and Market 32 stores in the Northeast. Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32 finalized their merger in early November to form Northeast Grocery Inc. (NGI).
Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops noted that Payne (pictured left) will collaborate with leaders in marketing, merchandising, IT and the individual operating companies to drive initiatives aimed at boosting NGI’s overall market position.
Payne has spent 19 years at Tops, most recently as director of advertising, a role he has served in since January 2016. Previously, he held posts such as manager of consumer marketing and customer relationship marketing specialist.
Tops has approximately 150 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, including five run by franchisees. Overall, NGI’s retail network spans roughly 280 stores — including about 130 under the Price Chopper, Market 32, Market Bistro banners — in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In connection with the merger, a dozen Tops stores were sold to C&S Wholesale Grocers in late 2021 to be converted into Grand Union stores.
With the merger, Tops and Price Chopper/Market 32 retained their brands and local management. NGA is headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., along with Price Chopper/Market 32, while Tops remains in its Williamsville headquarters. Tops Markets Chairman and CEO Frank Curci now serves as NGI’s CEO, succeeding Scott Grimmett, former president and CEO of Price Chopper/Market 32, who retired in February.