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Tops in Medina celebrates 25 years, opens time capsule

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 18 January 2020 at 9:47 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: John Leible, the manager when Tops opened its store in Medina on Jan. 17, 1995, holds a copy of The Journal-Register which ran a story on the event. The newspaper was one of the items in a time capsule which was opened in ceremonies Friday.

MEDINA – Friday was a day for celebration at Tops Friendly Market in Medina.

The day marked the 25th anniversary of the day the store opened on Jan. 17, 1995.

In honor of the date, current employees, former managers and local officials gathered to watch a time capsule unsealed and opened by John Leible, the original store manager.

“John was here during the ground breaking and he was here when the store opened,” said Darlene Bowman, customer service manager, one of a handful of employees who has been with the store all 25 years.

This time capsule was sealed in the wall of Tops Friendly Market when the store was built 25 years ago. It was opened Friday in an observance of the store’s quarter century in Medina.

Leible spent 15 years with Tops and retired from the store which he opened.

Others who have been with the Medina Tops since it opened are Cheryl Gavenda, deli manager; Patti Farewell, overnight bakery associate; Jeff Farewell, grocery clerk; Don Barnard, dairy/frozen manager; and Peter Huth, fuel associate.

“This store is like my home,” Bowman said.

John Leible, left, manager of Tops Friendly Market in Medina when it opened Jan. 17, 1995, removes a time capsule from the wall, after Don Barnard removed the cover block. Barnard, dairy/frozen manager, has worked at the store all 25 years.

The anniversary celebration began with the small crowd gathering outside the front entrance, where Leible and Barnard unsealed and removed the time capsule in a block near the corner of the building, as current store manager Scott Fumanti welcomed the group.

“Special events like this allow us to reflect on past accomplishments, good times, bad times and moments that brought Tops workers together as a family,” Fumanti said. “Every journey becomes a milestone, and those milestones are an occasion for our celebration. This time capsule is now a piece of our history and a reason to reflect today.”

From left, John Leible, the original store manager of Tops in Medina; Don Barnard, dairy/frozen manager who has been with the store since it opened; and current store manager Scott Fumanti pose with the time capsule which was removed and opened on Friday.

Fumanti told the crowd to remember that a milestone is less of a date and more of a definition.

“What defines Tops in Medina is that the community of Medina 25 years ago welcomed Tops, and we in turn became the true definition of community, loyalty and especially family,” Fumanti said. “Our accomplishments at Tops for more than 25 years was measured by the community of Medina. And for that, we thank you.”

Items which were placed in a time capsule when Tops in Medina opened 25 years ago are pictured during the store’s 25th anniversary celebration on Friday. The items include a copy of The Journal-Register announcing the grand opening, pictures from the ground breaking until the opening, a copy of the grand opening ad, a coffee mug with Tops logo and a video tape of events leading up to the opening.

The celebration then moved inside the store, where Leible began removing items from the time capsule. There was a copy of The Journal-Register featuring a front page story on Tops opening. Leible pointed out the closing of Fisher-Price in Medina was announced in a smaller article in the corner of the paper. Other items in the time capsule included a coffee mug with Tops’ name, pictures, a copy of the opening ad and a video tape of the grand opening.

Local officials who were invited to witness the historic event included Medina Mayor Mike Sidari; police chief Chad Kenward; Kathy Blackburn, representing Medina Area Partnership; Michael Robinson, president of MAP; and Marguerite Sherman of the Medina Village Board.

Employees who worked at Tops in Medina when it opened on Jan. 17, 1995 posed for a picture after a time capsule was opened Friday commemorating the 25th anniversary of the store. From left are Cheryl Gavenda, deli manager; Sue Green, cake decorator; Jeff Farewell, grocery clerk; Patti Farewell, overnight baker; Don Barnard, dairy/frozen food manager; Darlene Bowman, customer service manager; and John Leible, store manager when Tops opened. He retired from there after 15 years with the grocery chain.

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