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Not all Tops supermarkets are alike: Here are the 4 types

For decades, Tops Markets focused on building its large-concept supermarkets across Western New York. But in recent years, its strategy has shifted.

At the same time that larger stores began to saturate the market, leaving it with fewer large-scale expansion options in the local market, consumer tastes started to lean toward more convenient, walkable stores.

That's when the company turned its focus to smaller stores that could fit into suburban neighborhoods and fill out the gaps in its footprint.

The company also has bought out smaller, mom-and-pop grocers, particularly in rural areas where grocery options are few.

The company has four distinct formats, each one tailored to the kinds of customers they reach. They are:

  • Super centers. These large-format stores range from 30,000 to 100,000 square feet and are located in areas with dense populations. They have the largest selection of all the stores, with up to 45,000 different items. Super centers have full-service amenities, including deli, seafood and meat counters; and often a pharmacy, bank and fueling station.
  • Country store. Located in rural areas, they draw customers who may drive greater distances to reach the store. Ranging in size from 10,000 to 50,000 square feet, they may have as many as 35,000 different products. Country stores have a mix of full-service amenities, such as deli counters, and products or services that fill a specific need in each particular community.
  • Urban area conventional store. Located in urban or inner-city areas, these stores are smaller to fit the space restrictions of compact cityscapes and range in size from 20,000 to 40,000 square feet. They adhere to the more traditional supermarket layout but have fewer full-service amenities and a smaller selection; usually between 20,000 to 30,000 different products.
  • Neighborhood small store. Usually tucked into smaller suburban communities, they range in size from 10,000 to 30,000 square feet and have 10,000 to 25,000 different products. Neighborhood small stores are highly tailored to their surrounding communities from the beginning, including the size of the store, its layout and decor. Managers at all stores have the flexibility to order products specific to their customers' tastes, but products and services at neighborhood small stores are especially highly customized.

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