WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — An investment group that includes industry consultant Burt P. Flickinger III has bid to acquire the Tops chain, based here, from parent company Ahold, Flickinger told SN last week.
Flickinger, whose family had been involved in food retailing and wholesaling in upstate New York, said he has been working with a “well-known” investment firm in the bidding process for the 72-store chain, which Ahold last year said it was seeking to sell.
“Our interest is to buy the company on a bundled basis and maintain the current management team,” he said.
Max Henderson currently leads Tops as its executive vice president and general manager.
Flickinger, managing partner of Strategic Resource Group, New York, declined to identify the investment firm he is working with and did not disclose the value of the bid.
He said his goal was to work closely with the local unions and local vendors to return the chain to its roots as a “hometown-owned and -operated chain” and to increase employment levels at the stores. He also said his group would like to add additional new Tops stores in the area.
The chain would remain supplied by C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H., Flickinger said.
Ahold is currently doing due diligence following a second round of bidding, he said, and it could take another “few months” for a sale to wrap up. Ahold earlier this year said it didn't expect to close on the Tops sale until the end of 2007. Tops shed its operations in Ohio last year and before that exited stores in eastern and central New York.