SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Two major north country grocery store chains are merging after years of competition.
Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets made the announcement Monday morning. The merger will take 130 Price Chopper stores and 162 Tops Markets and bring them together. A news release said this will “nearly double their collective footprint in the Northeast.”
Pick a north country community and likely there’s either a Tops or Price Chopper there. Thousands of people shop at them and hundreds of people work at them. For shoppers and workers, however, things shouldn’t change much.
“I love Tops. We save a lot of money here,” said Laurette Thon, a Tops Markets customer.
“It sounds like a good thing,” said Tim Peiffer, a Price Chopper customer, “If it’s larger and it carries more products, there’s more for us to choose from.”
“If there’s just going to be more locations that Price Chopper is using their policies on, that’s thrilling for us honestly,” said Rebecca Hunt & David Cude, Price Chopper Customers.
The marriage will bring together a non-union workforce at Price Chopper with a unionized workforce at Tops, where 10,000 workers are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. UFCW Local 1 released this statement after learning of the deal Monday morning, “Our members at Tops Friendly Markets are essential frontline workers and as always Local 1 will continue to fight for our members’ jobs and their livelihoods.” It also noted union members’ contracts are in full effect, and have years left before they expire.
Price Chopper Spokeswoman Mona Golub tells us that union contracts will be honored and there are no plans to change either chains’ workforce or close locations at this time.
In 2010, both companies went after the assets of bankrupt P&C grocery stores; Tops won, paying $85 million. It kept its stores in communities like Watertown, Adams, and Lowville, but it sold off P&C stores in Canton, Gouverneur, Massena, Potsdam, and West Carthage to Price Chopper. Tops has had problems since that deal, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2018, emerging from it later that year.
Now the two meet again, in what’s marketed as a merger. It’ll make Price Choppers’ President and CEO, Scott Grimmett, the CEO of the new parent company and the man at the top of Tops, CEO Frank Curci, will be on the newly formed board of directors.
The deal is expected to close in the next few months. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.