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Apr 15, 2008 05:53 AM

Wegman's scoping out a site in Westwood, MA

According to a family member of mine, WHAM in Rochester NY reported this morning that Wegman's is scoping out property in Westwood MA for its first New England store.

Oh, that would be mighty fine indeed.

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  1. Uh, did you say Wegman's? I can't tell you how happy this would make me. Some of my fondest memories growing up included taking a trip to the Wegman's in Penfield, NY with my family while staying with cousins out there. Back in the late 1970s, that market looked much like the Roche Bros. and Whole Foods of today, so they were way, way ahead of their time.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Yes, indeed. All Hail The Pittsford Mother Ship!

      1. re: hiddenboston

        Someone else here with Rochester (no one around here pronounces it right) roots. There is nothing like it in the area. I really hope this is true!

        1. re: Duster17

          There was an article about this in the Globe South section a couple of weeks ago saying the same thing. I believe Wegman's was looking for a liquor license as part of the deal.

            1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

              Shaw's briefly carries Zweigle's red and white hots, re-labelled so as not to confuse the locals here.

              Then again, Wegman's has a very odd practice of relabelling blood oranges as "raspberry oranges" in the Rochester the weirdness works both ways.

              Now if they could arrange for freshly made kimmelweck here....

              1. re: Karl S

                We bring the white hots back from Rochester with us in a cooler twice a year. The kids just love them. My big fear is that Wegmans' wont offer them here (do New Englanders really want them I wonder? They seem to be happy with their existing choices --- Italian Sausage - spicy or mild). Love the "split open" Zweigle's.

        2. Yes, it's true, in the new Westwood Station development.

          1. Oh Lord, this is the moment that I have been waiting for since moving New England! Please, please, please let this be true!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sarahbeth

              It better be! I've already told about 250 people!

              I was pretty young when I frequented the Wegman's in Penfield, NY, but I recall it being a very customer-friendly place. They would open the doors early so my great uncle and other retirees could take walks there on rainy days.

            2. Pardon my ignorance, but could someone describe wegmans? Sounds great just not familiar.

              31 Replies
              1. re: Northstar22

                Wegman's is considered by many to be the US's best supermarket chain. It's based in the Rochester NY area, with its flagship store in neighboring Pittsford being a destination landmark for many food folk. It has not had a store in New England, much to the grievance of many here.

                There's nothing local to compare. You might think of it as a combination of parts of Whole Foods, Roche Bros and Hannaford on good steroids.

                The Boston area, having experienced a huge consolidation of supermarket chains in the 1990s, is particularly deprived of competition in this regard. Just think of how many places the basic choice is Shaws/Star vs S&S. Like every 2-3 miles. Sprinkle in some Roche Bros, Market Baskets and Foodmasters for occasional variety. Stir.

                Many hope the advent of Wegman's here will kick the lazy local butt into better quality. (Including, not incidently, Whole Foods. Wegman's is not a natural food store as such, I should note. It's a general supermarket - plus.)

                1. re: Karl S

                  How many people who actually live in the city are going to drive all the way down to Westwood Station to do all their grocery shopping?

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    You might be surprised. Even with gas prices. It would be a lot easier than many other things people already do.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I know people in Boston who rent cars every month or two to go to the IKEA in Stoughton. I'd say these same folks would do the same for Wegmans---not to do *all* their grocery shopping there but just an occasional trip.

                        1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                          I'm one of those myself -- we're making an IKEA run on Friday afternoon, as it happens -- and I can see making an occasional trip to Wegmans in similar circumstances. But the hype makes it sound as if it would become commonplace for people across the greater Boston metro area to do a large part of their shopping there, which seems unlikely to me. I'm not saying I disapprove of the store or anything.

                          1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                            Sort of like a Stew Leonard's run (CT)
                            Or a Trader Joe's run before they expanded.

                      2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        I think the place will be swarming with people from the Westwood area. I have friends who live there and while they do have a Roche Bros they have to drive to Wellesly for WF and Needham for TJ's. They've been feeling very overlooked. With the new WF coming to Dedham also I think a lot of people from Rozie/West Rox/JP/Brookline Village will be driving down to that shop. We already schlepp down there for Costco and BJ's

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          "Destination" and "supermarket" are not two words I would put together lightly, but I've experienced Wegman's in Buffalo and, yeah, I'd get in the car and drive to Westwood for Wegman's. Wegman's is just a supermarket like Versailles is just a palace.

                          1. re: bartleby

                            How is Wegman's pronounced? Does it rhyme with leg or wedge?

                              1. re: ginnyhw

                                In high school in Pittsford in the 1980's, we called it "Weggie's" with a hard "g".

                                1. re: newhound

                                  Yep thats what alot of people called it when i lived there. Funny I Had a roomate who graduated pittsford in 85...

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              BFP, I'm thinking that few people in Boston proper (especially those without cars) would make the trip. But for those who live in the suburbs, a Wegman's in Westwood would be a very popular spot.

                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                I really dont think they care if people who "actually live in the city" come or not. I doubt its part of their plan or of any concern to them. When you open a market in westwood your target customers are the people in that area. Anyone who comes from the city or further are just bonus customers.. Same as when i Shaws or stop and shop opens, im sure they dont count on people driving an hour to get there.

                                1. re: hargau

                                  That's my assumption as well, but Karl S's post made it sound like its opening would be some galvanizing event that would fundamentally shift the entire supermarket scene in New England. I just think that sounds a bit grandiose.

                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                    If this location were successful and led to multiple additional Wegmans locations with some closer to town, maybe. I remember when Whole Foods bought Bread & Circus I (foolishly) thought they'd stick with their handful of locations in the area--now they're all over the place.

                                    1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                      Yeah, but as was discussed ad nauseum in that "Wegman's In Boston?" thread a while back, there's only a limited number of places that a store the size of the average Wegman's could possibly open inside 128. I mean, not even Wal-Mart has been able to put one of their giant hypermarket Supercenters closer to the city than Salem NH. Whole Foods stores are tiny in comparison, and a small Wegmans wouldn't have all the amenities that its devotees are so fond of, so what would be the point?

                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                        Your correct. Wegmans would never open a small/scaled down version anywhere. In fact they have closed some of the older stores that were not up to the newer superstore standards. They always are in suburbs, i dont know of any in major city centers. They are in the 140,000-180,000 sf range. The pittsford store even has a 2nd level with seating for dining. If the westwood store works out i can see them expanding to the north shore area, seems to be plenty of space/dead stores around the peabody area. Or west in the northborough area.. Plenty of places they could go just not so easily inside of 128..

                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          Good point, I've never been to a Wegman's and didn't realize they were so huge. But I think the WalMart comparison is skewed by the fact that many folks have a fierce hatred of them (in their own backyard, anyway) and would fight tooth and nail at town meetings against putting a super Walmart in their town.

                                          Wegmans doesn't seem to have the negative reputation that Walmart has, so they would probably have an easier time getting approval by local councils/zoning boards.

                                          1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                            Actually, according to that Globe article that ran about a month ago, what's holding up this Wegman's location being official is the town's reluctance to allow a supermarket to sell beer and wine. Apparently, Westwood was completely dry until only a few years ago, and they still have no liquor stores, just some restaurants with beer and wine licenses. There's going to be a vote at the town meeting on May 5, and the likelihood is that if the exception isn't granted, they're not going to put a store there.

                                            Sadly, you can never discount the power of NIMBYism. Heck, here in my neighborhood, people are up in arms about plans to open a Walgreen's of all things. Because god knows we can't have pharmacies around.

                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              After reading this thread, I got curious. Anyway, this has been approved:

                                              1. re: pamlet

                                                This was the best line of the article: "You can go into a Wegmans and spend all day there between shopping and books and cooking"


                                            2. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                              "Walmart" used in the same breath as "Wegmans" is an oxymoron in my opinion!

                                            3. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              WalMart was close to some sites nearer town but they backed off, mostly one guesses because they hate to pay much for real estate.

                                          2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            It's akin to Norstrom's opening in the Boston area: a market leader finally coming here.

                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              I must admit, last summer i drove 7 hours to Rochester... 1st place i went...before even checking into the hotel... Wegmans.. Had to take the gf there as i had told her alot about it.

                                              I think back in the mid 80s when i 1st moved to Rochester the difference between Wegmans and what was in MA was astonishing. There was nothing even close to it here. Today the differences i think are more subtle in some areas as there are some hannafords, Super stop and shop, superstores that do now offer alot of the things that Wegmans does..Plus we have Whole foods and Roche brothers as well. Back in the 80s i cant even recall markets having their own bakeries and baking fresh breads daily, etc...

                                              By the way, at the same time in the mid 80s, I was impressed by Wegmans Sister store which was called Chase Pitkins. It was a Home Depot type place. I had never seen anything like it before. The largest stores we had in MA were Grossmans. Wegmans has since dropped that store now that H.D. and Lowes have moved in.

                                              1. re: hargau

                                                There's definitely space, South Bay, for example, could easily fit something like that in (or could if they dumped a tenant). When I see these great supermarkets in other parts of the country (Krogers is a great example), they seem to be on a suburban model (as is 99% of the US of A), and perhaps they don't think the business would do well in the big, bad city? Would their competition be S&S, Whole Foods, or Formaggio?

                                                In Westwood it's clear who their competition is and who their customer base is. In town, it's more complicated.

                                              2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                I totally get why you'd say that, and I'd probably be right there with you...but I have been to the Mountain, and I have drunk the Kool-Aid, and believe me, once you have experienced Wegman's, you'll understand why his post reads as it does.

                                          3. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            I live in Beacon Hill and will be there.

                                            Don't forget that people in the city with cars often drive West/South, and Wegman's is bound to be a good place to stop on the way home, especially after a weekend away, to stock up. I'm excited.

                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              When I lived in Philadelphia, we drove nearly an hour to Princeton to go to Wegman's probably every other weekend.

                                              Though I don't really see what difference it makes, whether citydwellers will drive to Westwood Station or not. The majority of greater Boston's population is in the "greater" part, rather than Boston.

                                        2. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I finally got to shop at my first Wegman's a few weeks ago, when I was in Scranton PA for a weekend to help my favorite presidential candidate. A group of us stayed at a motel that happened to be across the street. When I saw the Wegman's was there, I HAD to go. Amazing. Sort of like a Roche Brothers taken up about three notches with a big dose of organics and the like and with very good prices. In other words, even better than I had imagined it based on all the stories one hears.

                                          I am gonna have to find some good excuses to go to Westwood...