ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Tops Markets’ new, upscale Orchard Fresh store here has been performing “way above expectations” and is being viewed as an expansion vehicle, Tops’ chief executive officer told SN on Monday.

During a tour of the month-old store, Frank Curci, Tops president and CEO, said he thinks Tops could open “a handful” of the stores in each of its markets in upstate New York.

“It’s fills a hole in the market in upstate New York,” he said. “There are lots of players at the low end, and we feel now we have a vehicle for the upscale customers and communities."

The 30,000-square-foot Orchard Fresh location, in the upscale Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, eschews much of the traditional grocery offering in favor of a plethora of fresh, organic, natural, specialty and healthful items, and an extensive prepared-foods area at the center of the store.

“We think we have hit on a format that resonates with customers,” Curci said.

He said Tops, based in Williamsville, N.Y., is currently seeking to identify additional locations for the banner, which targets a more upscale demographic than a typical Tops store.

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