Is This the End of the Road for Tops in Owego?
Had my husband and I not spent the night of our wedding at the former Owego Treadway, I might not have ever stepped foot inside the Owego Tops Friendly Markets. See, we live in Binghamton and the Owego Tops is 20 miles from our house. On the night of our wedding, my husband and I decided we wanted to have a picnic on the lawn of the hotel overlooking the river.
We' saw the Tops Friendly Markets across the street when we were pulling into the hotel and decided to check it out and see if we could find picnic supplies. From the second we walked through the doors of the store, we were greeted with smiles and super friendly people. At that moment, we became loyal Tops of Owego shoppers. No seriously, we were so impressed with the store and the people who work there that we've been traveling 40 miles round trip once a month for the last four years to do the bulk of our grocery shopping there. But, are those days numbered?
On February 21st, Tops filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Reports indicate that the company is more than $720 million in debt. In April, Tops Friendly Markets said that while most of its 169 stores were doing well, there were some that weren't and the company approached the courts and asked for approval to close the underperforming stores. What Tops didn't do is disclose how many stores or which ones they want to close.
Last week, Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York approved the request of Tops to close the stores that aren't doing well in sales and to also hold going out of business sales ahead of the closures.
Unfortunately, the fate of Tops Friendly Markets in Owego remains up in the air as the company continues to drag its feet with an announcement of which stores will close. In a statement released to Supermarket News on Monday, the company stated, "No timetable nor decisions about store closings have been made."