Tops Markets Cuts Search to 6

Regional grocery chain Tops Markets is considering six semifinalists to handle its estimated $15-20 million integrated marketing account.
Jan Apple, the Minnetonka, Minn., consultant handling the process, confirmed the review but declined to name the six contenders. Included are shops in the Midwest and Northeast, as well as Canada, sources said.
Executives from the Williamsville, N.Y., company will narrow the list to three finalists in mid-May, Apple said. A decision is expected by the end of May, she said.
The account had been handled by Gray Kirk Vansant Advertising and Public Relations. The Baltimore agency resigned it in March after being named agency of record for Shoppers Food Warehouse [Adweek, March 6].
Tops Friendly Markets spent just under $2 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and billings for 2000 have been estimated at $3 million. However, the integrated nature of the account currently in review is expected to push billings into the $15-20 million range, Apple said.
Tops operates nearly 220 supermarkets and convenience stores under the Tops Friendly Markets and the Wilson Farms names, primarily in New York and Ohio. The company is owned by the Royal Ahold conglomerate of grocery stores. K