The local coffee wars are heating up again, this time with Tim Hortons nearly doubling its presence in the Western New York market.
Tops Friendly Markets and Tim Hortons announced Tuesday they will bring the popular doughnut and coffee shops to all Tops stores by the end of the year.
"Buffalo is our number one market in the United States," said David Clanachan, Tim Hortons chief operations officer. "We consider this our castle keep."
The Ontario-based fast food chain already has 90 locations in Western New York.
Tim Hortons' first Tops full-service restaurant is open for business at the supermarket's store on Maple Road near Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst. The 850-square-foot eatery, controlled by a local franchisee, includes a full dining area.
Tops will install self-serve Tim Hortons kiosks in all 81 of its remaining supermarkets and Tops Express locations by year's end.
The Tim Hortons kiosks, featuring machinery that freshly brews one cup of coffee at a time, will replace the current "non-descript" self-service coffee format found at most stores.
In 2009, Tops will begin converting up to 20 self-serve kiosks into full-service stores serving coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches.
Tops hopes to eventually install stand-alone restaurants within selected parking lots.
Tops' bakery items, however, will remain in place.
"We really see them as two different products. Our doughnuts are part of your shopping list for the week. Tim Hortons' doughnuts and coffee are convenience items you pick up and enjoy while you're shopping," said Frank Curci, Tops president and chief executive officer. "It's a great enhancement in one-stop shopping."