SYRACUSE, NY. (WSYR-TV) — Two Upstate New York-based grocery chains are merging. Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Friendly Markets announced the merger deal Monday.

What’s unknown at this point is how the merger may impact individual stores and whether any of the combined chain’s outlets will close.

That uncertainty raises concern for Syracuse University’s Jonnell Robinson.

Robinson is an assistant professor of geography and director of the Syracuse Community Geography Program.

In that capacity she has worked with local groups and studied the impacts of what are often called food deserts in urban areas, and in rural communities as well.

Robinson recalls the challenges of getting another supermarket to replace Wegmans on Pond Street in Syracuse. Tops eventually took over that location.

She is hopeful that on the positive side the increased buying power of the combined chain could bring better value for customers in poorer communities.

While national big box stores, like Walmart have become major players in the grocery business, she says they tend to be located in more suburban areas because of the available square footage of the stores, and the customers in suburbs are more likely to afford the higher profit prepared meals.

The combined Tops and Price Chopper chain will have 300 stores and about 30,000 employees.