TOPS Markets provide senior-friendly shopping, services

— Once a person retires, life can change dramatically. For one thing, there is usually less money coming in and senior citizens often have to make do with less, and look for ways to down-size and live more economically. Since retired or semi-retired folks, for the most part, have more free time on their hands, we (and I count myself as a member of this group) look for ways to be more frugal, yet still shop wisely without impacting our quality of life in a negative way.

This senior tip focuses on a local grocery chain that recognizes senior citizens as a sizeable and important share of their clientele and has rewarded them in some very creative and positive ways.

On any given Tuesday morning at the TOPS market, located in Airport Plaza, Brewerton Road, North Syracuse, you will find a friendly upbeat group of people, predominantly seniors, gathered in the dining area in the back of the store, between the deli and the bakery. They are laughing and chatting over coffee, set out for free on Tuesdays, along with samples from the bakery, like scones, cinnamon buns or slices of jelly roll or pound cake. Folks are visiting over coffee in the large, light, and airy eat-in section that can easily accommodate 30 to 40 people. It is kept spotlessly clean and always decorated by season. The Tuesday I'm there, writing this, the room is adorned with colorful hanging Fall leaves and tablecloths and flowers that match. As I look around I notice two or three employees (on break, I presume), drinking either coffee or soda, and catching up on the news, just relaxing a bit before going back to work. Then there are two women (seniors) immersed in private conversation at a table for two. Both are drinking coffee and sampling the baked goods that have been left out on the counter. They look like they are good friends and sharing important news. Then there is one elderly gentleman at a table alone, slowly sipping his decaf and doing what I call “people-watching.” I guess that perhaps he is seated here while his wife is shopping somewhere in the store, or maybe he came in alone to do his own shopping.

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