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TOPS INTERNATIONAL STORE IN AMHERST CLOSING FOR RENOVATIONS IN JANUARY

The Tops International store at Maple Road and North Bailey Avenue in Amherst will close for renovations for several months starting in early January.

The store, which opened in 1991 near the Boulevard Mall, will undergo a "multimillion-dollar" remodeling, said Stefanie Zakowicz, a Tops Markets spokeswoman. It is expected to reopen in late spring or early summer.

The supermarket will close to customers Jan. 8. When it reopens, it will remain Tops' largest store, at 122,000 square feet.

The remodeled store will contain an expanded version of the new-store prototype that made its local debut in North Tonawanda last July. It features a "store-within-a-store" concept for its bakery, deli, meat, seafood, pet and baby departments, adopting some elements found in stores run by its sister chain, Giant of Carlisle, Pa.

In the store's 14 years of business, it has undergone only minor renovations, Zakowicz said.

The Maple-Bailey store's 205 employees will remain on the payroll and will be temporarily assigned to work in nearby Tops stores. After the remodeling is finished and those workers return, an additional 70 to 100 employees will be hired for newly created jobs, Zakowicz said.

While the store is temporarily closed, some of its services will continue. The store's pharmacy will remain open, with the current business hours, in a temporary location at the site. The store's Key Bank branch will also be temporarily relocated on site.

The store's kosher deli, operated by Rabbi Nissan Berg, will temporarily move to the Tops store at 2309 Maple Road, to serve customers who want to buy kosher products.

The cooking school at the Maple-Bailey store will be closed while renovations are under way, but classes will continue to be offered at the Tops West Seneca Cooking School at 355 Orchard Park Road.

Shoppers who live in the Boulevard Towers, located near Tops International, will be offered shuttle service to other nearby Tops stores.

The chain says it will keep the Maple-Bailey store's shelves well stocked until the temporary closing, to minimize the impact on shoppers.

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com