Inside the Buffalo supermarket reopening after the mass shooting
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two months after the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting, Tops on Jefferson Avenue is set to reopen.
Tops showed off its renovated store in a media tour Thursday ahead of its reopening Friday morning. The supermarket also announced a series of security upgrades and aesthetic changes made to the store, as well as improved food offerings. Photos and updates can be seen below.
Tops has chosen not to publicize the exact open time of the store, but said it will certainly be open by 10 a.m. Friday.
Photos of the updated Tops store
Memorials at Tops
Memorials are being planned inside and outside of the store. There will be a memorial “water wall” inside the store entrance (seen in the gallery above), which includes a poem from Buffalo poet laureate Jillian Hanesworth. This will remain standing as a permanent tribute to the lives lost on May 14, Tops said, although the names of the victims will not be included out of respect for the families.
Outside, Tops says there will be an urban street art exhibit in collaboration with a local artist collective. The exhibit — titled “An Offering” — will be on display from July 17 through Sept. 9, Tops said.
“The exhibit is a sincere response of care and concern by African American artists, arts organizations, and arts patrons to support, enable and empower healing,” Tops said in a press release. “Offered in love, the exhibit presents original artworks of beauty, creativity, intelligence, knowledge and wisdom inspired by cultural heritage and created by intergenerational artists ranging in age from 7 to 70 years old.”
Tops said it is also working with the local community to develop a permanent public remembrance area outside the store, on the corner of Jefferson and Landon.
Store improvements and security upgrades
In addition to a long list of physical updates to the store, Tops also enhanced its food offerings. They said there will be 25% more produce, with a focus on organic options; additional dairy products; more in-store bakery goods; and an expanded prepared food case for meals-to-go.
Enhanced security inside and outside is planned for the Tops reopening, including additional security personnel and new video and alarm systems.
Tops installed an emergency evacuation alarm system that can simultaneously activate in-store and alert police. An additional emergency exit has also been added, going above and beyond building code, Tops said.
Other improvements include:
- New, modern store façade, which they say is the first of its kind in the Tops network
- Renovated interior, including a new store layout
- New landscaping
- New covered cart corrals
- Enclosed exterior area for shoppers to stay out of the elements
- Repaved parking lot
- New fence along property line
- Additional LED lighting in the parking lot
- Improved egress points
- Improved sight lines and openness on the sales floor
- State-of-the-art self-checkouts
- Upgraded ventilation systems
- High-capacity fryers for prepared foods
- New easy-weigh scales in the produce department
- Video menu screens in the Carryout Café and Bakery
- Dedicated floral department in collaboration with local florist, Anderson’s Flower Shop
- Expanded line of personal care products, as well as wellness programs with local community partners
- New health education screenings in its pharmacy.
- Enhanced Grocery Delivery service with a free delivery offer and SNAP payment acceptance, as well as more education on how to sign-up and use the service
Tops also said it has added Adinkra symbols at entrance and exit points, representing hospitality/welcome, peace/harmony, and farewell. These are West African symbols that can convey many meanings.
Tops said 76% of store employees are coming back to work at the Jefferson Avenue store, adding an additional 10% are interested in returning but aren’t ready yet.