COMIDA approved an incentive package for the Tops in Henrietta to relocate to a different plaza on Jefferson Rd. The move allows Tops to install a gas station. Without the incentive package, COMIDA said Tops would leave Henrietta, taking with it 79 existing jobs and 18 new ones. Tops was awarded sales tax exemptions on $2 million of renovations. The plaza owner was awarded sales tax exemptions on $320,000 of work.
COMIDA also approved tax breaks for Tops in Irondequoit to move to a different plaza on East Ridge Road. As in Henrietta, the move allows Tops to build a gas station. The store threatened to leave Irondequoit, costing 79 jobs and 18 new ones. (Interesting how the two stores employ the exact same number of people.) The plaza owner received sales and mortgage tax exemptions on $10.7 million of work, as well as additional property tax abatements. Tops is getting a sales tax break on $2 million of work.
Let’s be clear about why Tops is moving these stores – gas stations. Fuel brought in $51 million in sales in the third quarter of last year, a jump of 7 percent. Gas is an integral part of the business model for the chain.
We have to ask whether the threat to close the stores was real.
Tops has 153 stores. Its third-quarter profit was $4.7 million on sales of $538 million. It has been adding stores, particularly in smaller, existing supermarket locations. Even if the Henrietta and Irondequoit stores needed gas to survive, it’s doesn’t automatically follow Tops would have left those towns. If Monroe County had told Tops it wouldn’t get a deal in any of the towns, would Tops really have closed stores and abandoned two population centers? Would the county really have lost 158 low-paying service jobs? What would the impact have been if Tops did leave?
Sometime we should see what happens when we say, “No.”
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) February 21, 2013
Links of the Day:
– Experts don’t know why gas prices are rising in Western New York.
– Schumer wants a bank to stop harassing a couple over their dead son’s college loans.
– A coalition including Rochester Institute of Technology is bidding to make Upstate New York a drone testing site.
– The WalMart of weed. This is the future.
– Walking is not a crime. Why do we often blame the victim?