Tops Weekly Ad – Tops Friendly Markets was co-founded by Armand Castellani, who was born in 1917 in a village outside of Rome, Italy. His family came to the United States in 1920, and eventually moved to Niagara Falls, where his father, Ferrante, opened a small grocery store neighborhood. After his mother’s death in 1933, Castellani left school to help manage the store. He continued to do so until joining the Army in 1941. He reached the rank of captain after five years service.
After World War II, Castellani returned to the family business. In 1951, he went to him and opened the Weekly Ad Market in Niagara Falls. Shortly thereafter, he partnered with Thomas Buscaglia, the owner of a food equipment firm, T.A. Buscaglia Equipment Co. During 1950, Buscaglia, as CEO, and Castellani working together, by entering into a cooperation agreement with other small shops to build the foundations of what would become Tops Friendly Markets chain. As the local economy flourished in the 1950 mid-to-end, the company expanded operations to include the construction of building dedicated primarily to supermarkets. During this time, Savino Nanula, a meat department manager, became an integral part of the management team of the company.
By 1958, they had set up headquarters in Buffalo, and in 1960 opened the first modern supermarket, a 25,000 square foot (2,250 m²) store on Portage Road in Niagara Falls. The company then changed its name to Niagara Frontier Services (NFS).