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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- On the eve of its departure from the northeast Ohio market, Tops Markets said Thursday that it had sold seven more of its grocery stores, leaving 17 of the original 46 Tops units still unsold.
Westlake, Ohio-based Rego's Fresh Market purchased Tops stores in Cleveland and in Westlake; Cleveland, Ohio-based Heinen's bought the Strongsville Tops; former Cleveland supermarket operator Steve Rogers purchased a Tops in Cleveland; Lorain, Ohio-based Apples parent company Cascade Management Services bought the Sheffield Tops in Lorain County; and Giant Eagle said it was close to signing a deal to purchase the Streetsboro Tops, in addition to the 15 stores in the region it has already bought.
Also, a company called Crystal Capital has bought both the real estate and a Tops store in Cleveland.
Earlier, Wooster, Ohio-based Buehler's bought the Brunswick Tops; Cleveland Heights, Ohio-based Zagara's Marketplace purchased the Richmond Heights Tops; and Fairbury, Ill.-based Dave's Supermarkets bought four Tops locations in October.
Giant Eagle and Dave's Supermarkets have hired almost all of the Tops associates at the stores they bought, and they plan to absorb about 500 more. Buehler's, which doesn't have unionized employees, said it would staff its new store with its own associates.
Tops employees who stayed at the 17 unsold stores are now unemployed. Tops said it would continue to market those sites.
UFCW Local 880 said it would contact Rego's and Steve Rogers to ask them to hire former Tops workers.