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    Tops Investing in Stores, Initiatives to Boost Business

    WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- In line with parent company Ahold USA's determination to beef up its soft supermarket sales, Tops Markets, LLC, based here, said yesterday it was undertaking a series of steps to raise its profile in its core western New York market.

    WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- In line with parent company Ahold USA's determination to beef up its soft supermarket sales, Tops Markets, LLC, based here, said yesterday it was undertaking a series of steps to raise its profile in its core western New York market.

    The banner, which has been in the news lately for selling off noncore assets such as underperforming stores, is now focused on improving its customer service, marketing, and store base, according to published reports. The chain will spend as much as $60 million in the next two years on renovating as many as 26 stores in the area. It will also give the Tops brand back to the current Martin's Super Foods in Amherst, which Tops converted to its sister banner as an experiment a year ago. The name restoration will occur on April 16.

    Construction is already in progress at stores in West Seneca, Niagara Falls, Medina, and Lockport, N.Y., with work scheduled to start in June at the Tops on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, and additional stores to be announced later.

    Most of the renovated locations will receive new bakery and deli departments, gourmet desserts, made-to-order specialty sandwiches, and seasonal salads, among other delicacies.

    The company has also said it will be more aggressive in its marketing, so as to better compete not only with Wal-Mart, but also with Northeast star players such as Wegmans. To that end, Tops has already brought back the locally beloved "Tops Never Stops" slogan and advertising jingle.

    "All of these only reinforces our commitment to our core market and the Buffalo Niagara region," Tops e.v.p. and general manager Max Henderson Jr. told Business First of Buffalo.

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