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Aug 5, 2008 08:31 AM

Wegman's Update ?

Any word yet on the proposed Wegman's in Westwood Station ? Last I saw it was going to Beacon Hill in July for a ruling on an exemption to a local liquor license law following heavy protests from the local Roche Bors..

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  1. An article posted this morning says that final approval is still pending:

    1 Reply
    1. Interesting developments to this story. I thought it was a done deal after the town approved it.

      I learn more and more about the wacky liquor laws, regulations, and hoops that need to be jumped through in order to sell alcohol in MA everyday.

      In a related note Whole Foods has been approved for a license in Dedham for their new store and looks like they will be swapping it with one of their three locations that already has them - my guess would be the Wayland store would give up theirs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LStaff


        I certainly, and with all due respect, hope that you're wrong, LStaff.
        I most definitely do have a dog in that fight!


        1. re: Harp00n

          I'm with Harp00n on this one....losing the Wayland beer and wine section would hurt. Curious if that's just speculation or if you've actually heard something.

      2. Hi,

        For all you Wegman's aficionados, here's an update in an article in today's Patriot Ledger. It seems that Roche Bros is spending a LOT of money to try and kill the Wegman's expansion:

        11 Replies
        1. re: mwk

          I don't understand Roche Bros. argument. Entities are allowed to hold only 3 liquor licenses at one time in Mass. Roche Bros. already has their licenses. Wegman's, obviously, has no liquor licenses yet in Mass and they want 1 of their allowed 3 to be in Westwood. If they wanted to Roche Bros. could seek to transfer 1 of their 3 licenses to their Westwood store. Instead, they are seeking to block Wegman's from getting their very first Mass liquor license. That makes no sense. Wegman's is playing by the rules and Roche Bros could transfer a license to their Westwood location if it is such a big deal. Am I missing something here? Why isn't what Wegman's is seeking to do fair under the current laws?

          1. re: Gordough

            Quit trying to inject logic into the whole thing! ;)

            1. re: Gordough

              It's perfectly understandable...what supermarket will suffer the most if Wegman's moves into Westwood? Even if Roche Bros moves their liquor license, they are probably scared of the competition. If this Wegman's is half as good as all these raves on Chowhound make it out to be, I guess they should be scared.

              1. re: Gordough

                With all respect, that's naive. Roche Bros is local, founded in Roslindale. The argument is: why should the state government harm a local business, one with many employees, so a developer and a chain from upstate NY can get richer? In the past few years, other local chains have been bought - such as Victory, bought by Hannaford's - and that puts local jobs at risk. Yes, you can say that Wegman's will create some jobs, but that doesn't mean the people at Roche Bros will get them.

                1. re: lergnom

                  You can't possibly be suggesting that Roche Bros should somehow be treated differently from Wegman's because they were founded in Massachusetts and Wegman's is a NY company, are you? The laws are the laws no matter what state a company was founded in and operates out of and it seems like Roche Bros. is having a hard time understanding why the laws should apply to them. No one is suggesting that Wegman's is not playing by the rules but it appears as though some people are suggesting that Roche Bros should be protected for some reason. Why is a Massachusetts chain any better than a New York chain? This isn't a mom and pop coffee shop being squeezed out by the 19th Starbucks opening up. If the Roche Bros in Westwood fails because of Wegman's, that is because the people choose to shop at a better establishment and consumers should welcome that. The fact that Roche Bros. was started in Roslindale should be of no moment...

                  1. re: Gordough

                    I'm not suggesting anything and believe this is going off topic. The point, in the spirit of the thread, is that this is what happens. It's called politics.

                2. re: Gordough

                  After reading all the articles in the papers, the jest of this entire disagreement is not to block wegmans selling beer and wine -it's more to receive equal treatment - like whole foods in dedham being allowed to transfer a license - westwood will only allow wegmans the license to sell beer & wine - and wont allow roche a license period, so no transferring a license, no selling beer and wine, which to me, really isn't fair.
                  Wegmans is a wonderful supermarket and it would be great to have them in Westwood for more shopping choices and all of the great bakery and take home meals they sell. Whether Roche is scared of competition isn't the point here. In my opinion, if one market is allowed to sell beer and wine, the other should be given the option also - that's all, and let the shoppers choose where they want to make their purchases.
                  As a westwood resident - I'm not so sure I'd make the journey to wegmans as it's off the beaten path - the Wine Press is much closer and has great variety (and still wont have as much traffic)

                  1. re: Gordough

                    What you may be missing is that the issue may be more than a liquor license ---- Wegmans' won't be good news competitively for any New England chain. I really think the competition will be good for local New England consumers.

                    1. re: davefoxdad

                      The fact that there's a Wegmans an hour away means absolutely nothing to me about my shopping. My regular shopping circuit (Russo's, BJs and Stop & Shop, all within sight of each other, less than 15 minutes from my house) hasn't changed a bit, and won't even when the Burlington location opens. For one thing, Wegmans cannot touch Russo's for price, variety or quality of produce.

                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        If that's true, then Russo's must have one heckuva produce dept.

                        1. re: johnb

                          Russo's is a full-on greengrocer, with a few other departments (cheese, deli, dairy, floral, some dry goods, etc.) alongside. But yeah, Wegmans cannot touch Russo's for produce. I'm very spoiled.

                3. I actually just got back from upstate NY a few days ago from a long weekend, and I went to the Wegmans in Fayetteville (Wegmans Dewitt, near Syracuse). I was born and raised in the Boston area and I can say with certainty that Roche Brothers does not even BEGIN to compare to Wegmans. They should be scared. However, they are not exempt from the rules and as several people have pointed out, they already have their 3 liquor licenses. If they want to transfer one to their Westwood store, assuming that's possible, then they should do that. However, competition is not a valid reason to block a store from coming to the area. Tops and Hannaford are local competitors for Wegmans in the Syracuse/Buffalo area and those supermarkets still manage to survive.

                  We live in a capitalist society, for better or worse. Wegmans is just trying to expand, like any other chain that wants to make money. Roche Brothers is a chain and should expect and accept that there will be competition. And trust me when I tell you that Wegmans is fantastic and worth a trip. We drove 2 hours there and back (from Albany to Syracuse) just to go to one. And their prices are phenomonal. I compared their prices against Stop and Shop, Roche Brothers, and Hannaford and they beat all of the local chains on everything but two items.

                  Plus, I can buy a 12 pack of Yeungling for $9!!!!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: massgirl

                    As someone who grew up right in the middle of the upstate NY supermarket wars, I have to agree-- it's completely possible for competing stores to rise to the challenge of increased consumer expectations, at least in quality and service, even if they don't have as much space for the full (and sometimes rather excessive) range of products. As Wegmans stores started getting bigger and more lavish, Tops followed suit, expanding and specializing to introduce a lot more international products as an added draw.

                    Furthermore, having just spent the week shopping blissfully in a NYS Stop & Shop and comparing it to the sorry excuse for a Stop & Shop in Brookline, it's clear that it's not just a matter of one store not having the resources of another chain-- they just don't bother to bring the same quality to their eastern MA outposts, because they don't have an incentive to. (Granted, I'm comparing a Super Stop & Shop with a plain old-skool Stop & Shop, but still...)

                    1. re: massgirl

                      FYI, the DeWitt store, while it is fairly nice (certainly by comparison with the really older Wegmans stores), it still is way behind the more recent ones in overall appeal. DeWitt was the first Wegmans I was in and I was impressed (my daughter went to Syracuse U), but when they moved into DC (where I lived at the time) I could see those stores were clearly a further improvement. Other newer stores I have visited have also been really good. My point is that even though you liked DeWitt, I'm sure that if Wegmans has made the decision to move into the Boston area, they're going to be sure their stores are over the top, and you will be extremely pleased with your new shopping option (expect long lines). It is little wonder this Rick Roche guy is fighting it as he is--he knows what's coming.

                      1. re: massgirl

                        Hey massgirl; Please be aware that Hannaford does NOT compete with Wegmans in New York State. Hannaford has no stores west of the Herkimer/Utica area. Wegmans has no NY stores east of Syracuse.

                      2. Westwood Roche Brothers is my current supermarket. It is the best option in the area, but I am not a big fan. The aisles are cramped and the checkout lines are ridiculously long. There is no way they could transfer a liquor license to this location--it's way too small. They should be scared about Wegmans coming in. This Roche Brothers has very limited organic produce, no organic meat, (they do carry free range chicken and eggs) and I have not seen anything in from farms in the state (they did carry some local stuff last year). I am really excited for Wegmans to open. There is a Whole Foods going in up the street in Dedham in the new Showcase complex also. That, in my opinion, will be better than Roche Brothers too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: liamsaunt

                          Isn't it amazing that there are people who don't want you to be able to shop at a potentially superior market because they, for some reason, want to protect what will become an inferior market from losing business? Only in Massachusetts.....