Tops Friendly Market speaks on future plans of Buffalo store
Tops Friendly Market company officials say plans are already in place to reopen the only market in the community. Those plans includes replacing the current market with a brand new "Best In Class Market" for the neighborhood.
News10NBC traveled to Buffalo to hear what people had to say about those new plans.
Tops company leaders say they want input from both the people who depend daily on that market, and even from their own store employees on what they would like to see when it reopens.
"We need this store. We don’t have any other grocery stores in this neighborhood," said Ginny Lighten.
It’s been almost a week now since Peyton Gendron allegedly shot 13 people at the Jefferson Avenue Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. He killed 10 of his victims. Thursday, local authorities wrapped up the evidence gathering of their investigation, and returned control of the store back to the Tops company. John Persons is the company’s President. He says Tops will continue to be a part of the East Buffalo Community.
"We have been committed to the City of Buffalo for a long time since our beginning. Since our founding 60 years ago. This event doesn’t stop that commitment. We will be here. We will be in this store," said Persons.
Upon hearing the news Adelajah Dunn added, "He must continue to you know have these doors open to feed the community."
Persons says right now there no timeline yet for a reopening date.
"We want to bring the "Best In Class" store to this location. We want to make sure it’s done right, and we open it in a respectful manner. For our associates, and for our community at large," said Persons.
Talk of new improvements is welcomed.
"It’s one of the smallest Tops I’ve seen," said Lighten. She continued, "But it serves its purpose right here in the community, because we all know this is a food desert."
All week people have been holding vigils for the 13 shooting victims. Tops does have plans to memorialize them once they reopen.
"There should be some type of plaque. Some type of something we can have a remembrance of those people who lost their lives there," said Lighten.
Not everyone agrees with such memorial plans, or simple remodeling of the market. Bobbie Jackson Sr. calls the shooting site hollowed, and sacred ground.
"It’s going to be hard for people to shop in this particular store on that particular ground you know what I mean. Those particular aisles, that’s going to be different. Give us something new with a new spirit. With a new life," said Jackson.
According to their website, Tops operates 150 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Saturday afternoon each store location will host a moment of silence for each shooting victim starting at 2:30. The community is encouraged to attend.