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TOPS to open a store in downtown Rochester?

Posted at: 01/22/2013 5:01 PM
Updated at: 01/22/2013 6:07 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

For those who live or work downtown, within the inner loop, you haven't been able to shop in a big name grocery store in more than a decade. But TOPS may be looking to fill that void.

Wegmans actually had a grocery store in Midtown Plaza in the early 90's. It was later replaced by Midtown Village Market after it closed.

2002 is the last time Rochester had a full blown grocery store in the heart of downtown. Wegmans left Midtown Plaza in 1995 and Midtown Village Market took over. But by 2002, bids were being taken on all that was left over when the supermarket left for good.

Mayor Tom Richards, City of Rochester, said, “We've been interested in this for a number of years and it's one of those things where one of these days, we'll get it done.”

But for the first time, in a long time, the idea could be making a comeback.

Mayor Richards said, “We're in this process of trying to develop enough of a base downtown of people so that the commercial business can be sustained by that base.”

A brand new Wegmans will open on May 19 on East Avenue, but we're talking about a store more centralized to downtown. And News10NBC found out that TOPS would be interested in pursuing it.

Mayor Richards says he's had discussion with TOPS and other places about doing this for a number of years. However, there's no hard, fast commitments by anyone right now. But the mayor says the fact that we're even talking about it is good news.

Mayor Richards said, “I think it's encouraging for downtown. I think it's encouraging for the city that when asked about it they say, yeah that is something we might think about.”

So where would the store go?

Mayor Richards said, “In terms of where it goes, we'd have some opinions about that, but I don't want to be prescriptive about that. You have to balance two things, what's available, what would complement downtown, and what works for the business.”

Why do we need a store downtown? Mayor Richards says obviously it's a benefit to the people who do live downtown, but it's also a benefit to those who work downtown. He's says with 50,000 people coming downtown everyday to work, it would be a great option for them. But again, right now, plans are in the works.

Mayor Richards said the store would not be a full sized store, but would be a smaller version. He says that it ultimately comes down to the market. If population of downtown increases and the need is there, then it might make sense to take that next step.

News10NBC did ask Wegmans if they'd be interested if the city came to them. They said their focus right now is on the store on East Avenue and they have no plans beyond that.