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Jefferson Avenue Tops reopens to shoppers

Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue reopened Friday, 2 months and 1 day after the mass shooting that took 10 lives and injured 3 others.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue officially and quietly reopened its doors to the community Friday morning.

Just before 8:00 a.m., the doors reopened for the first time since the horrific mass shooting on May 14. Since then there's been much community discussion on whether the store should reopen.

Tops president John Persons previously said it would take far too long to build a new store, especially given the immediate needs of this community. 

"We wanted to give the community the right store, with the right offerings, and the right feel, and we wanted to do it in a very respectful way. That was really our driving motivation," Persons shared with the community on Thursday.

Before the tour, city, state and community leaders joined neighbors outside of the brand new Tops signage for a solemn ceremony, during which each of the victims were honored. 

New York's Attorney General, Letitia James, shared these thoughts: "The road has been long, it's been a challenging one, but the beautiful memorial here will forever be a reminder of what we have endured."

Mayor Byron Brown said clearly to all those in attendance, "We will never, ever forget them."

Tops executives say 76 percent of employees who were working inside the building at the time of the shooting plan to return to work, with a strong possible of more returning soon. 

"Another 10 percent have expressed a desire to come back to work," Persons said. "They're just not ready yet and that's perfectly acceptable we want our associates to come back to work when they feel ready."

Inside, there's a water wall which serves as a memorial to the victims as well. As for outside, Tops says it is working with the city and the neighborhood to create one in the near future.

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