The ribbon was cut Tuesday on the new Tops in Riverside's Pulteney Plaza, and the grocery store hosted a grand opening celebration that included an American Legion Honor Guard, kids from All Saints Academy singing “You're a Grand Old Flag,” and sheet cake.
The Northside has a supermarket again.
The ribbon was cut Tuesday on the new Tops in Riverside’s Pulteney Plaza, and the grocery store hosted a grand opening celebration that included an American Legion Honor Guard, kids from All Saints Academy singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and sheet cake.
Tops corporate representatives then handed out $500 donations to Habitat for Humanity, the Painted Post Food Pantry, the Painted Post Volunteer Fire Department, the Southeast Steuben County Library and Tanner’s P.A.W.S. Animal Rescue and Shelter.
“We’ve wanted a store here for a long time,” said Frank Curci, president and CEO of the Buffalo-based Tops chain, which has 159 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Curci said the store was “looking forward to serving the Village of Riverside for years to come.”
The grand opening capped a year-long construction project that transformed Pulteney Plaza.
The plaza was built in 1975, but took a big hit in 2002 when its former anchor, P&C Food Markets, moved to Gang Mills and then closed. The space was most recently occupied by a Dollar Store, which closed.
Tops expanded the space by 5,000 square feet and enlarged the parking lot to build a Tops gas station. The other current tenants in Pulteney Plaza - Original Italian Pizza, Guthrie Medical Supply Depot and Rent-A-Center - are staying, said plaza owner Ron Panosian.
As part of the Tops project, 9,000 square feet of space was added on the east end of the plaza, and will likely host two or three new businesses, Panosian said.
The $4.9 million, 24,500-square-foot new Tops features the company’s new store design, and includes a deli, bakery, seafood department and meat department. There’s an organic section, as well as a Carry Out Cafe with subs, pizza, fried chicken and other hot food.
Shoppers can get discounted gas at the gas station in the parking lot by accumulating “points” at checkout.
The Tops project has “revitalized the plaza, and the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Jamie Johnson, executive director of the Steuben County IDA, which provided a package of property, sales and mortgage tax breaks.
Panosian, the plaza owner, will get a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal, Johnson said. The deal gives him relief from 50 percent of the increase in assessed value in the first year, then declines by 2.5 percent annually until the plaza is fully taxed after 20 years.
The IDA also provided an abatement on the sales tax on the materials needed to build and furnish the new store, as well as from the tax on signing the mortgage.
The new Tops has hired 105 employees, said Bob Clinton, store manager.
Clinton said he’s not worried about competing with the nearby Wegmans because Tops will be more convenient for people who live in Painted Post, Riverside and Corning’s Northside.
“They don’t want to go over the bridge,” Clinton said. “We’re the only supermarket on this side of town.”