Niagara Gazette — DiMino opened one of the doors and reached into the case to grab a bag of kale. “We used to sell one case of kale a week. Now we sell five,” he said.
The customer is able to see more of the products available due to the vertical display behind the doors, he said. The light-weight glass doors also help to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh longer. “There is not a grocery chain in the United States utilizing those doors for produce,” he added.
He walked over to the nearby deli, and pointed out more changes in display and accessibility. New deli cases were built with shelving below the glass displays, which offers customers easier access to prepared deli foods.
As he moved through the store, pointing out additional improvements such as wood trim on aisles and signage, he stopped to help one couple seeking bread crumbs, directing them several aisles away, before finishing a sentence.
He noted that as one of only two family-owned franchisees in the Tops company, he has much independence in deciding about renovations and product selection. As such, he carries a wide variety of products unavailable at other Tops stores, including locally produced items such as maple syrup, honey and hot sauce. Along with the renovations, he has added about 100 different artisan cheeses, which are cut in-store, and the same number of new craft beers, many of which are showcased in a refrigerator case where purchases can be made by the bottle. And, he has also hired two doughnut makers so the store can offer doughnuts made in-store, once again, especially the peach fritters which are a speciality of the store, in salute to the village’s annual Peach Festival.
Beyond doughnuts and specialty products, he added that the store continues to make its own sausage, from a secret family recipe, everyday, and continues to make prepared foods such as macaroni and cheese and pulled pork, fresh everyday in the store. The customers know the difference, he said, and look forward to the specialities. “Everyone knows that Friday is goulash day,” he said, smiling.