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Lewiston Tops store to get makeover/expansion

A franchised Tops Markets store on Center Street in Lewiston will get a makeover this summer, dictated by local customer demand and national food trends, owner Anthony DiMino said. The new format will focus on organic, healthy and specialty foods, local products, and will feature an expanded beer selection complete with beers on tap for refillable growlers.

“When we first built the store, the emphasis was on having as much aisle square footage as possible,” DiMino said. “But the national trend right now is for more perimeter-type sales. The days of buying canned vegetables are over.”

The changes will cater to the younger, more affluent, discerning consumers in the store’s surrounding Lewiston neighborhood, DiMino said. To accommodate more of those fresh and specialty products, DiMino will build a second story onto the back of the store, and move most of the store’s offices from the front of the store to the upper rear. Traditional shelf space will be cut down to make additional room for a giant, 25-foot by 25-foot walk-in beer cooler, which will be constructed at the front of the store, to the left of the entrance. A growler-filling area will be added to the same corner. The store will occasionally offer beer and food pairings.

Coffin-style, horizontal display cases in the bakery will be swapped out for higher-end, vertical displays. A “Wall of Values” sales wall will be removed to give the store a more wide open look. Bathrooms will move from the front of the store to the back.

“The store is going to look totally different,” DiMino said.

Work is slated to start in May or June and is expected to be finished by November 1. Dimino declined to disclose the project’s total price tag, but said it would be a “multi-million-dollar” overhaul. It underwent another multi-million-dollar makeover two years ago, when DiMino renovated the produce department and changed the store’s decor.

Next, DiMino is looking into alternative, renewable energy sources. He is particularly interested in adding a solar array that could be attached to a canopy over the parking lot and is investigating that as a future possibility for the Lewiston store.