BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Extensive renovations continue at the Jefferson Avenue Tops in Buffalo where ten people were murdered in a mass shooting in May.
“Just about everything in the store is new,” Mayor Brown Brown stated. “The store looks completely different inside. It does not look like the same store on the interior.”
But Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says the store has been completely transformed into a new look and does not look like the former store.
Mayor brown toured the store Tuesday morning with the president of Tops.
The mayor says it was the very first time he was inside the store since the mass shooting on May 14th.
“You know I have to honestly say it did have an impact on me. I did feel some trepidation. Some concern going back in, but instantly as I got into the front door it was different. It looked different than it looked previously and so that was helpful to me,” Brown noted.
From new flooring to lighting to a newly paved parking lot, the mayor says so much has been done to change the look of this Tops store.
“More open in some areas, more offerings of food, more food cases, organic foods, more products in many different varieties,” described Brown. “All of the product from before was completely replaced, so every product that is in the store is 100 percent new and fresh.”
Mayor Brown says he is very pleased to see that Tops is listening to customers, community members, and employees in making extensive renovations to the store.
“But thousands of people in the community rely on that shopping option and give Tops tremendous credit for listening to the community, listening to their customers, listening to their employees, and changing just about every single thing you can think about in that store so that when people do come to the store it will look and feel like a brand new store,” replied Brown. “Tops has been offering opportunities for their staff to come in on Fridays and look at the changes being made in the store to make recommendations to things that they would like to see change.”
The mayor says he realizes some people may never return to this store but believes Tops is doing everything right so far.
Resident Carlina Jones tells me it will be hard to return to the store, but she will try.
“And I would hope when I go in there it will settle well that I will continue to shop,” Jones remarked.
And with no nearby alternatives, Mayor Brown says he hopes to attract additional stores and retailers to this community.
“We’re reaching out to other grocery stores. We're reaching out to other retailers. We think that this horrible event has also opened the eyes of the corporate community the retail community — the grocery community,” explained Brown.
“But I do believe that they should put another location somewhere close or wherever they chose by definitely in our community because we need that — we need more than one option,” said Brown.
The mayor says you can also expect enhanced security at the store, but says Tops will have details on that at some point.
“But the security upgrades are substantial. A lot of new security measures that have been added. If I was someone who was employed at the store, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the security measures that Tops has installed with security changes and upgrades that they have made,” explained Brown.
As for a future memorial in honor of the victims, Mayor Brown says members of the 5-14- Memorial Commission will soon be named to create a fitting memorial.
The store is scheduled to reopen at the end of July.