Tops Friendly Market in East Buffalo, closed since a white supremacist targeted it on May 14, is set to reopen its doors.
The New York grocery store where 10 people were murdered and three others injured by a mass shooter will reopen this week. Tops Friendly Markets’ Jefferson Avenue location in Buffalo, considered a staple of its East Buffalo neighborhood, has been closed since the massacre on May 14.
According to WGRZ, store staffers said in a release that its reopening will be quiet and respectful, and begin with a moment of silence and prayer to honor the victims and the community.
Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, closed since a white supremacist targeted it in May, killing 10 people, is set to reopen Friday. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the news outlet he had a chance to see the supermarket last month amid its renovations. “The store looks completely different inside,” he said at the time. “It does not look like the same store on the interior, and there are also substantial exterior renovations being done.”
Despite major upgrades to security both inside and outside of the facility, Brown acknowledges that returning to the scene will be difficult for many.
“Everyone is not going to feel comfortable coming back to the store,” he said, “and we certainly understand that, but thousands of people in the community rely on that shopping option, and I give Tops tremendous credit for listening to the community, listening to their customers and employees, and changing just about every single thing in that store so that when people do come to the store, it will look and feel like a brand new store.”
East Buffalo has been referred to as a “food desert,” even by Brown during previous visits. However, he is no longer making that reference, telling WUTV, “This is not a food desert. There are other supermarket options in the immediate area.”
The reopened Tops Friendly Market includes a new store layout, lighting, flooring, painting, as well as updated food options.
“I did feel some trepidation, some concern going back in but instantly, as I got into the front door, it was different,” said Brown. “It looked different than it did previously, and that was helpful to me. I’m hoping it will be helpful to other people.”
Eighteen-year-old Peyton Gendron allegedly opened fire inside Tops market on May 14 with the intention of shooting African Americans. He has been charged with both state and federal hate crimes and faces the death penalty.
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