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Watertown’s Tops grocery stores to be sold

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 3:59 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A grocery store merger is finalized and it means 2 markets in Watertown will be sold off. So, what does it mean for the stores, the employees and the customers?

The Tops locations on Washington Street and in the Seaway Plaza will be sold because of the merger with Price Chopper.

As for customers, they say it’s just another name change they’ll have to get used to.

“Well, I’ve been shopping at Tops since it was called P&C. So quite a few years,” said Johnny Tunstall, shopper

“Another change in the world, you know? We’ll just have to learn a new name. Hopefully they’ll give us some new bags,” said Dora Bova, shopper

Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets completed their merger on Monday, which they say has “nearly doubled their collective footprint on the Northeast.”

The two chains will stay separate, but will be owned by a new parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc. That company now owns nearly 300 stores.

Because of that large footprint, 12 Tops locations will be sold throughout the Northeast to C&S, a wholesale grocery company. That will help maintain competition in the affected cities.

Both Watertown locations will become Grand Union supermarkets. According to C&S, it was one of the first supermarkets in the United States.

“Hearing that name, it’s kind of an old-school name. That’s why I was like, ‘really,’” said Raymond Sabre, shopper.

Customers say they don’t anticipate seeing much of a change in their shopping experience. But they all did have one request.

“As long as, you know, the employees stay the same. There’s good people who work here,” said Tunstall.

“Hopefully they’ll keep the employees that we’ve known,” said Bova.

“Hopefully they keep the same people and all that because they’ve been here a long time,” said Sabre.

Attorney General Letita James says she worked with the union that represents thousands of Tops employees throughout this process and all employees will be able to keep their jobs.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Frank DeRiso says, “We are pleased that we have an agreement with the new owner and they are committed to retaining all of the existing union jobs and contracts.”

The grand openings for both locations are planned for mid-January through mid-February.

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