When Tops Marketplace reopened a year ago there was no advantage when it came to timing. It was, in fact, a month into the coronavirus pandemic, which hit very hard. And yet, “it’s been crazy busy,” owner John Salerno told the Record-Journal. The community had clearly been waiting for the return of the family-owned grocery store, at 887 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. The grocery had been rebuilding for a year after fire had destroyed the structure.
After reopening, the grocery forged ahead with the precautions that have now become all too familiar. The support and generosity from the community has not been forgotten, and Tops just recently showed appreciation by matching all donations made at a food drive held outside the store.
“The community really helped us out when we lost the store,” said Salerno. “The place burned down and everyone rallied and we want to give back.”
Salerno noted the pandemic has not hurt his business as much as it has hurt others — people need groceries even during the toughest of times. “We’re happy to do it, happy to help in any way that we can,” he said.
Food drives are really important ways of helping. The recent drive benefited the food pantry run by the Southington Community Services Department. Tops has long supported the food pantry.
And the pandemic has only increased the need. Families that once were not in need of such services saw their situations change.
“Especially with COVID and folks losing income there’s many families that would never have to use the food pantry … but some families have really found themselves in really dire straits,” said Kristy Kuriger of the Southington Rotary Club, which sponsored the food drive.
This is how healthy communities operate, with people helping one another and giving back when they can. It helps get through even the worst of times and shows that generosity is often its own reward.