Featured Case Study: Tops Friendly Markets

For many communities, the local supermarket is the universal gathering place not only for the purchase of grocery items, but also for the sharing of neighborly information and social conversation. That’s why it was important in 2010 for Tops Friendly Markets to handle with empathy, directness and openness, the acquisition of 79 stores, many in rural communities, from the bankrupt Penn Traffic Corp. and the subsequent decisions on their operational status and branding in the communities they served in a four-state area.

Carr Marketing Communications and Tops Friendly Markets developed and implemented a strategic public relations program to garner community support for the largest acquisition in Tops’ nearly 50-year history. The program was awarded a Gold Excalibur by the Public Relations Society of America, Buffalo Niagara Chapter.

The Penn Traffic acquisition was the largest in the nearly 50-year history of Tops Friendly Markets, and initially, would more than double its number of stores and greatly expand its geographic footprint.

A joint effort by Carr Marketing Communications and the Tops public relations team was responsible for researching and developing the public relations approach for these communities, and then executing and evaluating the planned program and strategy. The public relations plan objective was to obtain increased positive awareness for the Tops Friendly Markets brand among target stakeholder audiences in the community through store held events, community relations efforts and community media coverage of the acquisition, individual store decisions, and the rebranding effort.