SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Price Chopper/Market 32 has reached an agreement to merge with a Western New York-based supermarket chain that will double both firms’ collective footprint in the Northeast.
The merger with Tops Markets of Williamsville, N.Y., will create a mega-company that will have nearly 300 outlets and more than 30,000 employees. The new parent company will be based at Price Chopper’s headquarters in Schenectady, N.Y.
“This merger marks a major step forward and collectively elevates our ability to compete on every level,” said Price Chopper/Market 32’s President and CEO Scott Grimmett, who will serve as CEO of the new parent company.
The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The merger will not affect operations at any of Price Chopper/Market 32’s stores in Berkshire County or southern Vermont, according to company spokesperson Mona Golub.
Price Chopper operates Market 32 stores in Lenox and Pittsfield, and a Price Chopper store in Great Barrington. It also operates stores in Bennington, Brattleboro and Manchester, Vt., and has an outlet in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. Tops also has a store in Hoosick Falls.
“One of the beauties of this transaction is the fact that our footprints are almost perfectly contiguous,” Golub said. “There is minimal overlap. Although there is regulatory process that will dictate any changes that will be made, that perfectly contiguous footprint means that we expect minimal impact.”
The two companies will also continue to operate independently under their current brand names.
“We will continue to convert Price Choppers and Market 32s over time, but Price Choppers and Market 32s will remain Price Choppers and Market 32s,” Golub said.
Founded in 1932, Price Chopper/Market 32 currently operates 163 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont and has 18,000 employees. Of those outlets, 130 operate under the company’s Market 32 brand.
Tops Market was founded in 1962 and has 162 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. Williamsville is located near Buffalo, and Tops is the largest private, for-profit employer in Western New York, with more than 14,000 associates.
Tops’ three Vermont stores are located in Hardwick, Northfield and Rutland.
Golub said the two companies see the merger as a means of “growing scale” to stay competitive in the current marketplace.
“I think you’ve seen that we’ve been talking and exploring opportunities to grow our business for years,” she said. “Our leadership often goes to trade association functions and chats with other members of the industry and talk about issues and opportunities. From that comes discussion and discussion began.
“It was really focused on growing scale and how growing scale was an integral component to our continued success,” Golub said. “One great way to grow scale is to merge with another independent company and leverage best practices for the good of both companies.”
“As you know we compete against many regionals and multiregionals and many international conglomerates,” Golub said. “Growing scale gives us a louder voice, a bigger seat at the table on negotiating everything from the purchasing of goods to service contracts to new technologies. It gives us greater access to the things that can improve our business and make it distinctive from others.”
Frank Curci, Tops Markets president and CEO, will serve on the board of directors of the new parent company and as a consultant to assist in the transition.
“We have long believed that this merger makes sense both strategically and based on the similar ways in which we each put customers first, go to market and treat our people,” Curci said. “We look forward to working closely with the Price Chopper/Market 32 team and together becoming an even stronger competitor with more scale, as we continue serving our customers and communities.”
Blaine Bringhurst, Price Chopper/Market 32’s executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and store operations, will lead the Price Chopper/Market 32 business. John Persons, Tops Markets president and chief operating officer, will lead the Tops Markets business.