BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Tops Markets here is fueling up to pilot gas stations at three of its retail locations in the Buffalo area.
While Tops officials would not disclose plans to tie the fuel operations to its frequent-shopper program, other grocery retailers have offered discounts and free-gas incentives in an effort to jump-start their fueling stations.
The plan is to open the three fueling stations in the near future, said a Tops spokesman, adding that the retailer has filed paperwork with the cities of Buffalo and Tonowanda, N.Y., for permission to operate the fueling stations.
Tops is one of a growing number of retailers looking to travel other avenues of retail and improve its customer service, making it easier for consumers to have one-stop shopping.
When the stations are operational, they will be the first grocery-store fueling stations for Tops, which is a subsidiary of Ahold USA, Atlanta.
The retailer has operated fueling stations at several of its convenience-store locations for some time, according to the spokesman, who would not comment on what prompted the move to install the fueling stations at its grocery-store locations.
Other supermarkets have tied their fueling stations to their frequent-shopper programs.
Randalls Food Markets, Houston, started a customer-loyalty incentive program that offered shoppers a flat-rate discount off the price per gallon of gasoline at two stores that hosted fueling stations in Houston and Dallas.
In an earlier interview with SN, Michael Calbert, chief financial officer for the Texas retailer, said that he views the fueling stations as a "viable economic unit of the store."
H.E. Butt Grocery Co., San Antonio, started a similar program with the aid of a third-party fuel-marketing company that provided consumers discounts on gasoline at its fueling stations if the consumers purchased specific advertised items.