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WELLINGTON, Ohio -- The owner of Apple's Food Markets based here is the latest successful suitor to complete a deal to buy a Tops Supermarket location, this one in Sheffield Township, Ohio.
The deal was finalized last week and set to take effect in mid-December. Steve Krakomperger of Cascade Management, which owns the Apple's stores, said in a local news report that the Tops store presents the perfect opportunity for Cascade to continue its strategy of preserving community groceries.
"We feel that our strength is basically finding the jewel in the rough, opening these things so that the community has a local grocer to go to," Kakomperger was quoted as saying. "We felt the store would fit very well."
Krakomperger said he plans to have the Sheffield Tops converted and ready for business by mid-January. The state-licensed liquor store will remain open during that time.
Krakomperger said his company would make the Sheffield store profitable by offering competitive prices and promoting its meat department, which has long been a strong suit of stores operated by his company. When Tops announced it was discontinuing its in-store meat operations in favor a 100 percent case-ready meat program, Apples hired many of the store's laid-off meat-cutters.
He also said he plans to interview employees at the current Tops store for new positions. While Tops workers have been represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union, Apple's is non-union, although Krakomperger said he tries to match union wages.
Cascade now owns five grocery stores in Lorain and Huron counties, with Apple's stores in Lorain, Elyria, Sheffield and Norwalk. The company also owns Mor For Less grocery stores in Lorain, and a Village Market in Wellington.