Tops Friendly Markets is planning to renovate its Lancaster distribution warehouse with a proposed $2 million project.
The renovation would add new equipment, such as new forklifts, power jacks and door seals, and would help upgrade and modernize the facility. The warehouse would also get updated, energy-efficient LED lighting.
The renovation would make it possible for Tops to carry more natural, specialty and organic items, which are in higher demand among consumers. It would also enable the company to keep an inventory of generic pharmaceuticals on hand, instead of ordering them on an as-needed basis, which it does now.
“The distribution process is an important part of what we do,” said Kate McKenna, Tops spokeswoman. “It allows us to give our customers access to a wider variety of the freshest, most wholesome, safest products.”
Tops hopes to begin renovations by mid to late summer.
The Amherst-based company has asked the Town of Lancaster Industrial Development Agency for sales tax breaks on the project. The distribution warehouse’s previous sales tax abatement recently expired. A public hearing on the project has been scheduled by the IDA for 8:30 a.m. March 11 in Lancaster Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.
The 1 million-square-foot distribution warehouse was built in 1996. In 2002, Tops sold the facility to its supplier, the Vermont-based C&S Wholesale Grocers. Tops bought it back in 2007 but kept C&S in place to manage operations.
Last year, Tops and C&S entered into an agreement that kept their supply relationship unchanged but brought what had been C&S employees at the warehouse under employment with Tops. The facility employs about 700 people.