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Tops expected to open expanded grocery section in October

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Last week at Watertown Shopping Plaza, construction workers used a demolition saw to cut through 12-inch-long concrete blocks, knocking out a 14-foot-wide wall separating the entryway of Tops Friendly Markets and the vacant space next door.

The project at 1330 Washington St. led by Tops to retrofit the 8,300-square-foot neighboring space, previously occupied by Kinney Drugs, was started in late August by a 10-man crew from Montreal Construction, Syracuse, the general contractor hired by the grocery franchise. To open in mid- to late October, the expanded grocery area will include about 10 additional aisles and public restrooms.

Featured will be a natural and organic food section, a bulk-food section, an expanded gluten-free section and a wider variety of national and Tops brand products, according to a company release. Coolers and freezers will include organic produce and frozen foods.

The process of removing the concrete wall dividing the entryway took only a few hours to complete, and the majority of recent work has included sanding and finishing the concrete opening, said Michael Moore, project manager for Montreal Construction. The expansion project calls for new overhead lighting, ceiling tiles, tile flooring, painted walls and metal shelving units. Because the space already includes heating and cooling, Mr. Moore said, most of the work is already complete. The project is expected to be finished in about three weeks.

Although the work crew is now somewhat isolated from shoppers, Mr. Moore said, that will change this week after a section of drywall more than 15 feet long is cut out. Located to the immediate north of the entryway as shoppers walk into the store, that wall will be removed by construction workers during the evening hours when the store is closed to the public.

“We hope to knock out the wall as soon as possible,” Mr. Moore said. “We’ll put up some temporary protection near the entrance when we start work there.”

Tops bought four Big M Supermarkets in the north country this summer from brothers William J. and Gordon G. Bonisteel, including locations in Adams, Sandy Creek and Boonville.

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