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The era of Quality Markets is officially over

May 13, 2010
By John Whittaker

The Quality Markets name, which began with a single store in 1913 in Brooklyn Square, Jamestown, will no longer grace a marquee in the city now that Tops has announced it will rename all of the stores it purchased in January from Penn Traffic as Tops Friendly Markets.

“After a thorough evaluation, which included consumer market research, it was determined that our customers would best be served by having all these stores under the one Tops Friendly Markets brand banner,” said Frank Curci, Tops’ president and chief executive officer, on Friday. “With a multi-million dollar capital improvement program scheduled for these stores, in addition to offering a greater variety and selection of grocery products and services, customers can look forward to a more enhanced store shopping experience under the Tops name.’’


Richard H. Reading founded Quality Cash Stores in 1913 in Jamestown. Before the end of the first year, Reading opened another store in Falconer. By the 1930s, Quality Markets had grown into a 73-store chain in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania before replacing its smaller, old-style stores with more modern supermarkets. As part of the expansion, the company built an expansive warehouse in Celoron to get product to all its stores.

By 1979, the Reading family sold their burgeoning Quality Markets chain to Penn Traffic Co. The Quality Markets name continued to thrive until the mid-1990s, when Penn Traffic began to encounter financial problems. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003, exiting bankruptcy in April 2005. With its losses mounting, the Celoron distribution warehouse was closed in 2007, along with stores in Sherman, Warren, Dunkirk and on Fluvanna Avenue, Jamestown. The company then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again in 2009, with the Quality Markets, P&C and BiLo stores were part of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court-approved acquisition of a majority of Penn Traffic’s assets by Tops that was completed January 29.

Since the purchase was completed, Tops has closed Quality stores in the Fairmount Avenue Plaza in Lakewood as well as another store in Dunkirk.


Now that underperforming stores have been closed, the remaining Quality Markets locations in the area will get a facelift and a new name.

Stores in Jamestown, Frewsburg, Falconer, Westfield, Mayville, Randolph, Silver Creek and Ellicottville will be part of a two-year, $90 million capital improvement program announced Friday by Tops.

The re-branding effort is part of a two-year, $90 million capital improvement plan that will be conducted in several phases through the end of the year. Either major renovations or smaller improvements will be made to modernize these future Tops Markets locations. The focus will be on new interior and exterior signs, decoration, food cases, restroom renovations and in some stores, new storefronts, flooring and lighting. All stores will be made as energy efficient as possible.

Tops will also be introducing Tim Hortons self-serve kiosks in all of the stores. Beginning now and over the next few months, customers will find Tops brand products on store shelves as well as an increased variety of national brand products.


Article Photos

The Quality Markets store in Westfield, pictured above, and Mayville will soon be looking a little different as Tops Markets moves forward with its vision to both locations.



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