The Tops Friendly Market that was the scene of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in May is reopening on Friday. The supermarket has been fully renovated since the deadly attack, store officials said.
The store on Jefferson Avenue says it will reopen “quietly and respectfully.” A “moment of silence and prayer” is scheduled for Thursday at 2:30 p.m. local time to “honor and respect all victims and impacted associates and community members.”
“Our effort has been towards trying to reopen the store as soon as possible and we will do it in a respectful way,” company president John Persons said at a press conference last month, according to local news outlet WKBW. “We will do it properly.”
On May 14, Payton Gendron, 18, arrived at Tops Friendly Markets with ammunition and what authorities described as the “express purpose” of killing Black people. Ten people werein the attack and three others were wounded.
The U.S. Department of Justice hasmultiple federal hate crime charges against Gendron, some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty. A state grand jury also indicted the alleged shooter and he has pleaded not guilty. He has been in custody since the attack.
Following the deadly attack, Tops Friendly Markets announced it would remain closed “until further notice.”
Store officials at the time said they were “unable to speak to a timeline for reopening” due to the store being “an active law enforcement investigation site,” but noted that they were “committed to reopening up this community store.”
“When the time is right for all of us, we will reopen our doors on Jefferson Avenue. Until then, we remain here with you and for you in every way we possibly can,” store officials said May 18.
Persons said the store location on Jefferson Avenue has had its products and equipment emptied and restocked since the shooting, according to WKBW.
He said employees who no longer feel comfortable returning to the location will have other stores to work at if they choose, WKBW reported.