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Several people living in the 14208 zip code debate to reopen Tops on Jefferson Avenue

"I don't think necessarily that people would be comfortable shopping here again if it opens back up."
Posted at 6:30 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 18:32:44-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — People living in the 14208 zip code will forever carry the tragic memory of the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue that claimed ten lives. Many are questioning whether this grocery store should reopen or be torn down.

Some say it should be converted into something that brings the community together.

"I don't think necessarily that people would be comfortable shopping here again if it opens back up," KC, a resident says. "I don't think that. Maybe they can do something like build a community center something else to give back to the community."

Some say they won't be able to step foot inside the store again.

"Just to know like walking through those aisles unless they remodel the whole inside and make it change," says Giovanai McBride. "But again, don't nobody want those images like what you saw from the videos and social media you don't really want to come here and shop."

But others say since the community fought so hard for Tops to be on the East Side, it should reopen.

"Before Tops was here where did we have to go too? We had to use the corner store. They had to use the stores at the gas stations," says Paul Hines, a resident. "They paid probably five dollars of Milk, when you can get it for $2.19 at tops. So we need Tops. We need a Wegmans over here too."

And the need for other grocery chains like Wegmans to set up shop in the area is what the pastor of Columba-Brigid Catholic Church, Father Jud Weiksnar, is fighting for.

"The fact that there are so few grocery stores in this area we felt that this was the time to do the petition," says Father Jud Weiksnar. "Our parish council approved it and we have people from all parts of city including the Towne Gardens and we spoke with a different community leaders and we felt the time was right to get in touch with Wegmans."

But councilman Ulysees Wingo says otherwise.

"We can not disrespect their work and legacy we must and I understand there are some folks that might be upset with me but we must keep that store there because not everyone has the ability to move and go to other areas," says Wingo.