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    Tops Helps Local Economy With Business Partnerships

    The agreements reflect Tops' commitment to act local.

    Tops Markets, LLC said it has added over $20 million in new money to the local economy in 2008, by joining with independent western New York businesses that provide services critical to the regional grocer's daily operations.

    Tops' new business partners include Buffalo Newspress, which has recently been named the printer of the grocer's weekly newspaper circular, resulting in the creation of 10 new jobs. The difference should be immediately apparent to customers. "Tops' circulars are now brighter, cleaner, and have a sharper quality because of the state-of-the-art process we use," said Buffalo Newspress chairman Michael Kibler.

    The addition of almost 20 local business partners is part of Tops' commitment to being a locally managed and operated company. Before its acquisition by Morgan Stanley Private Equity late last year, firms outside of the region handled some functions of Tops' operations. With Tops once again under local management, the company has been working to employ local vendors and contractors to bring these operations functions back to western New York.

    "Tops is once again a local company," noted Tops president and c.e.o. Frank Curci. "With that comes the opportunity and responsibility to utilize local businesses to help us support our daily operations. We have been able to select experienced and dedicated western New York business partners to help us perform tasks vital to our business while at the same time supporting the region's economy by choosing local companies."

    As well as Buffalo Newspress, Tops has hired local business and consulting firms specializing in taxation, health and business insurance, employee benefits, risk management, legal issues, advertising, public relations, and maintenance. The grocer has also considerably boosted its advertising expenditures in daily newspapers and on local radio stations in Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. since the beginning of 2008.

    Also this year, the grocer has entered into a sponsorship with the Buffalo Bills football team.

    The biggest single financial impact, however, is related to fuel: Tops operates over 25 gas stations at stores throughout the chain, and has significantly increased the amount of fuel it buys locally.

    According to Curci, the $20 million figure is in addition to the many new local vendors that Tops has brought on board this year to help its stores provide a broader variety of products to its shoppers.

    Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops operates 71 full-service supermarkets and five franchise supermarkets, and employs over 10,000 associates.

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