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Why can't we get a Wegman's in Philly?

I wish that we could get a Wegman's in Philadelphia. I am in NE Philly and have to go to Cherry Hill in order to shop at Wegman's. I would do mopst of my shopping there if it was closer, but it is not practical to do this. I run over there if I need top quality meats, but thats it. It was also announced that all Wegman's cut their prices across the board. We ned one here!!!!

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  1. The main reason is that it would probably be too expensive to build a Wegmans in Philadelphia, especially Center City. Given the large size of the stores, the real estate cost in the city would be extremely high.

    1. Isn't Warminster closer than Cherry Hill from the NE? I used to live there and pop on the Tacony Bridge, but I think the Wegman's in Warminster may be closer, just saying.

      1. Well, if there is a Trader Joe's, I agree with the original post. If that store has real estate in CC, there's no reason a Wegman's can't come. I'd love to shop there but have no car . . . .

        8 Replies
        1. re: mlplyons

          The Trader Joes that I have been in across the country are less than half the size of Wegmans. I think it is very unlikely that you will see a Wegmans anywhere in Philadelphia.

          1. re: mitchh

            I like Wegman's more than Trader Joes. I always feel chlostraphobic in TJ whereas Wegman's is huge and has a sweet food court.

            1. re: DobieGillis©

              To be fair to TJ's, they aren't the same thing. It would be like saying that you like Genuardi's better than Wawa. :)

              TJ's is good for what it is, IMO, an overpriced specialty/boutique food store. Wegmans is a true supermarket that happens to be on steroids!

              1. re: mitchh

                mitchh, that's an excellent way to put it! the majority of TJs stock is prepared and pre-packaged foods that would be fine for road trip car snacks, but i find very few ingredients to cook my own meals at home.

                wegman's is a HUGE and i just couldn't see it fitting anywhere in center city. however i'm all for them taking over one of the existing, less useful big-box stores down in south philly! :) i'm generally not a fan of supermarkets, but i would make an exception if we had a wegman's.

                1. re: rabidog

                  Thanks for educating me guys! I've just heard such good things about Wegman's but have never actually been in one . . . . With what you've said, I guess one will never come to Philly, but one could only hope. Just never realized they were so big . . . .

            2. re: mitchh

              There is absolutely no comparison between Trader Joes and Wegman's. Trader Joes is eclectic and draws from a very different demographic than Wegman's , which is an up-scale supermarket.

              1. re: bucksguy14

                What demographic does TJ's draw from bucksguy? I am always curious about such things, probably because I am So the wrong demographic for my hobby of choice. :)

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  Well, being a business, not a social studies, major, I have to say I don't know the scientific terminology for the difference. However, by looking at the products of the two stores, and seeing the people who work and shop in each store, my conclusion is that they don't target the same market. That's not a good, or bad, thing, it's just business!

          2. you guys have Warminster, cherry hill, exton on the way, downingtown, please wegmans come to pittsburgh!

            12 Replies
            1. re: Mr Siegal

              Mr Siegal, don't forget about Collegeville!

              1. re: mitchh

                Has anyone been to both Wegman's in da burbs? Collegeville and Warminster? I think I live about equidistant to both and am wondering if one is better than the other?

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  I LOVE the one in Warminster, but I always get that vapid glazed look when I walk inside -- like Ma Kettle in the big city. My sister is something of a Wegman's whore. She referees both lacrosse & field hockey, hence she drives around a lot. Any, and I do mean ANY, opportunity she has to stop at a Wegman's, she does. She claims that her car is programmed to seek out Wegman's & automatically veer into their parking lot. I will have top ask her for a comparison (if she doesn't card me first).

                  1. re: PattiCakes

                    He he! Thanks Patti! Love them crabcakes. And cheesecake and pies and steak and shrimp and...Umm how about that snow? :)

                  2. re: givemecarbs

                    Collegevile isn't open yet.

                    However, all of the ones that I have been to (Scranton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Warrington, Downingtown) are very consistent.

                    1. re: mitchh

                      Are they all open 24 hours? It is fun going to the warrington one late nite. Also that way I can resist them hot crab cakes.

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        I believe they all are open 24/7.

                        I went to college in midstate NY and remember going to Wegmans in the wee hours of the morning.

                        I'm really bummed that the Collegeville one isn't opening until October. I was hoping it would be much sooner.

                        1. re: givemecarbs

                          They are open 24/7 in towns that allow them to. If they like the area, but are not permitted 24/7 they open 6a-12mn. You'll see that in several Jersey stores.

                        2. re: mitchh

                          I await with baited breath and palate for Collegeville to open. Is there a projected grand opening date yet? I'll feel sorry for the Collegeville Redner's and Acme once they do.

                          1. re: Chefpaulo

                            October 11, 2009 is Opening day for Collegeville store.
                            A Philadelphia store is not out of the question. A couple of hurdles have just been jumped in Boston for a Wegmans (there is no apostrophe). That store is probably 3 years away.

                        3. re: givemecarbs

                          Collegeville doesn't open until October, '09. I've been to both the Exton and Warrington stores. I believe the one in Warrington is slightly better, but that's just a personal opinion. I've been in Wegman's in NY and NJ, as well and I think all of their stores are really good. Hard to beat the produce quality, baked goods are terrific, sushi stand is reasonable, prepared foods are pretty good, fish is fresh, prices are very competitive. The only complaint I've ever had is that they limit their selections, but considering the size of the stores and what they do offer, my complaint is a mild one.

                          1. re: givemecarbs

                            When I lived out in Coatesville I would hit the Downingtown Wegman's for most of my regular shops then moved to Cheltenham so I have to go to either Warrington or Cherry Hill. Also stopped by the new one in Collegeville on opening weekend (yikes!). Would have to say that for all intents and purposes they're all great. All 3 PA ones have a great beer selection, they all have the killer (but expensive) asian hot table and all the other things that make Wegman's such a unique and fantastic store with an unbelievable amount of choices. Great meats, breads, cheeses and of course prepared foods. Trust me, you will not be disappointed no matter which one you go to!

                      2. There is also a Wegmans in Mt. Laurel, in a shopping center with a Super Target AND a Costco (in addition to DSW, Petsmart, TJ MAXX, and many other stores). Being able to make all those stops in one shopping center makes the extra drive there worth it. Personally, I think the store in Mt. Laurel is much nicer than the one in CH. Wegmans has a formula for figuring out where best to go. I'm sure they have looked at CC, but the land prices are much too high, as all Wegmans have large with ample parking to boot. Like the OP, I seriously doubt there will be a Wegmans in CC.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: mschow

                          I think one of the impediments to having a Wegman's in center city is the logistics of how people purchase food items. TJ's is geared toward the person who leaves the store with only 1 or two bags full of stuff, not the car trunk fulls of stuff the typical suburban shopper buys. For the Wegman's shopper, having a car is essential. For most (not all) residents of CC, it would be an onerous task to cart all of that stuff back to their residence, then get in into their kitchen. I don't think a full-sized Wegmans could survive given that type of shopping pattern, nor do I think it would be easy to find a location in the right area that had not only room for a store, but also room for adequate parking.

                          Just as an FYI, one of the things that makes me admire Wegman's tremendously is the fact that they seem to be in the forefront of the pressure to make beer/wine available in the supermarkets in PA -- just like in those real states (grin) of NY & NJ.

                          1. re: PattiCakes

                            I'm willing to get in line to repeal the stupid "blue laws". The real problem is the unionized work force in the state stores - and the politicians that cater to them because the rest of us don't get organized and demand that the stores be privitized.

                            1. re: bucksguy14

                              Thank you bucksguy14. Great statement. As a former CC resident, it was torturous doing the state store thing. Horrible selection and rude service to boot. But will it ever end? I doubt it, in the state of PA with the union lock they have.
                              BTW: we don't have liquor in any of the stores I shop in in NJ. Zagaras had it for a while (before they closed) and BJ's does, but your regular grocery store does not. Well, at least we have other options, unlike the PA residents...

                              1. re: mschow

                                Yeah Penna system is awful. I usually manage to have a good time at the state store in the same shopping center as Ray's Pizza, they have friendly help and sampling and good hours, and the store near Whole Foods has been good to me too but I left the store in the hillcrest shopping center in Lansdale empty handed and mad. I had a list of wines recommended by chowhounds and the employee couldn't help me find a single one, even the ones I found at other stores like menage a trois and the chicken wine. He seemed awfully eager to sic me on his manager to help me, it was odd. I want to be able to buy two buck chuck at TJs!!!!!! Hmm we did have Vidalia for a little while in Lansdale, that place was awesome, you could buy a bottle of beer and then go upstairs and surf the net on their pcs for free, and then get milk and a 4.99 meal deal on the way out. Sigh.

                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                  They don't sell the two buck chuck at the TJ in Marlton; I'm guessing it might have something to do with a liquor license, but they do sell it at the TJ in Westfield, NJ. My mother's friend buys a case of it when she goes, and mom buys some bottles off of her. It's actually pretty good!

                                  1. re: mschow

                                    /Crawls into a corner and sobs hysterically. :) -oppressed in Penna.

                                2. re: mschow

                                  Wegmans Bridgewater, NJ on Rt 202 has a wine and beer store attached to it. It can be controlled separately but you can just walk through to it through the main grocery store to get to it. Might have slightly different hours - not sure.

                              2. re: PattiCakes

                                that's an interesting observation, and probably true... however if they found a place down near the other big-box stores in south philly, they'd definitely get the driving crowd. the parking lots at those stores (ikea, home depot, superfresh, target) is just as crazy and packed as their suburban counterparts.

                                we haven't had a car for three months now, so driving across the bridge to the cherry hill wegman's is no longer an option, but i would definitely find a way to frequent one if they put it in the above-mentioned s. philly location. there's a bus route that goes right there, and i can haul a mean load with my folding laundry cart! :)

                                in general i am very anti-supermarket (i believe the majority take all the foodie fun out of grocery shopping and turn it into more of an ERRAND, dirty word!) but i do love me a wegman's. i am all in favor of grocery places where i don't need a list: i just walk in, and let the fresh produce or a new cheese or a rustic bread inspire my dinner menus for the week!

                              3. re: mschow

                                The Mt Laurel Wegmans is hands down the best one I've ever visited. We shop there every week.

                              4. WoW! Wegman's is a big hit here, huh?

                                1. Wegmans has dropped thier prices but my girlfriend just brought something to my attention. She noticed they started using high fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar and other lesser expensive ingredients in thier private label items. Yuk! I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to quality products.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: stirzthepot

                                    When Wegmans first came into the area their prices were very high. I remember going to the Downingtown store and the grocery bill was at least $20 higher for comparable items at Giant.

                                    Stirz comment about using less expensive ingredients is interesting. I wonder if this is done only in their stores outside of their original geographic footprint of New York State to help keep costs down or if they have done that overall.

                                    1. re: mitchh

                                      I find I spend more at Wegman's than I do at Giant because I shop for the higher-priced items at Wegman's. I don't go to Wegman's for my paper goods, packaged products, pet food, etc.; I shop there for the things I can't get anywhere else, and for the quality and variety they offer in some departments (produce, cheese, breads, etc.) that other nearby markets don't. And I LOOOOOOVE Wegman's!!! I'm so happy to have one only 12 miles away.

                                      1. re: mitchh

                                        Giant is an entirely different store, I think. I find that I use Giant for sale items, things that we need "right now" (we're 30 mins from Warrington) and definitely for their Boar's Head deli selections. However, I still hit Wegmans about 3-4 times a month.

                                        1. re: bucksguy14

                                          That was my point. I don't generally shop at Wegman's for the everyday stuff; in fact, I find the selections on the shelves to be very limited. They seem to stock those shelves with far more of their own private label than the national brands.

                                    2. I live 5 minutes from the Wegman's in Princeton, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies. In my experience, Wegman's is marginally better in a few ways to all other stores...not nearly the mecca that those without a Wegman's seem to make it out. I generally split my shopping between Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Super Shop Rite.

                                      Pros: Great selection, pleasant atmosphere, great food court and prepared foods.

                                      Cons: A little more expensive in general, ALOT more expensive on some specific things, over-crowded, long lines, rude staff, NO self-checkout, pretty tile floor that makes the cart roll LOUD

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: frackit

                                        frackit, I'm with you all the way! Based on my experiences at the Princeton Wegman's, I find the chain to be HIGHLY overrated. Granted, I was thrilled when it first opened, just because of the tremendous reputation it had, but gradually I found it definitely had its limitations and negatives (such as those you mentioned). At Wegman's it's all in the presentation--attractive layouts and displays make people think they're getting higher quality--but it isn't always the case!
                                        I've had some really bad experiences with their meats--some smelling less than fresh when I got them home and unwrapped (I hate how they shrink wrap their meats!) and poorly butchered--leaving silverskin on cuts, or leaving patches of it as though it had been hacked by an amateur. Any time I've purchased their chicken breasts, they are as tough as shoe-leather! (And it's not due to my preparation! It's old chicken!) I very rarely purchase meat there now.
                                        Their cheese department staff is not very knowledgeable and the cheeses are not stored well or wrapped correctly ($50/lb cheese stored in a case for weeks in cellophane!?). Several times I've been sold cheese past its prime. I've also been treated rudely and given the run-around in the seafood dept. for asking when they received their shipment of steamer clams (a perfectly legit question to ask when purchasing seafood--especially when it's looking a bit poorly...Turns out it was 3 days prior). And as far as cleaning fish/soft-shell crabs...I can do a better job of it myself.

                                        I still shop there because Wegmans carries some specialty items I can't find elsewhere and I regularly buy their bakery breads and rolls. However, I find their selection in many categories to be very poor. Only recently did they expand their packaged breads to include anything besides their store brand (which does not tend to be any higher in quality than other store brands, in fact some items are very poor. Do people really expect it to be a higher quality just because it's Wegman's store brand??). And don't get me started on how tiny and useless their frozen food aisle is.
                                        And I can't figure out why large bins of garbage, or whatever it is, have to be clacking over the tile floor during the lunchtime crowd, when you can barely move through the prepared food section as it is. I can't tell you how many times I've almost been run over by someone "comin' through" with a giant grey bin. I was also scolded by a cashier because my fresh basil leaked water onto the belt! Part of the staff rudeness I attribute to the fact that Wegman's proudly advertises that their "employees come first".

                                        I, too, split most of my shopping between Wegmans, Super Shop-Rite, Whole Foods (which is head and shoulders above Wegman's for meats, fish and cheeses), and McCaffreys--but if Wegmans left Princeton, I'd still be able to manage.

                                        Just saying, it's not completely what it's cracked up to be. I wish we had a King's down here--a much better store than Wegman's, in my opinion.

                                        1. re: choco_lab38

                                          I wonder if there's a store management problem at Wegman's Princeton location. The experiences you've described are so totally different from those I've had at the Downingtown, PA store.

                                          1. re: choco_lab38

                                            I love the WF in Princeton. So much nicer and than the one in Marlton. I love their fish dept and think it's heads above Wegmans. Re the comment on getting bad meats at Wegmans: It's happened to me 3 times at the Wegmans in CH. I also hate those cryovac bags. You don't know what you're getting. One bad item was a D'Artagnan whole chicken. I opened it up and it smelled like the worst dirty diaper you have ever smelled. When I went back with the chicken to the customer service counter, the clerk there started to open up the package to smell the chicken to see if it was really bad! I told her please to not do that while I was around since it made me gag when I opened it at home! I did get my money back, though.

                                          2. re: frackit

                                            Princeton Wegman's is by far the worst of the ones I've ever been to. Warrington, Bridgewater and Mt Laurel blow it out of the water in customer service and atmosphere.

                                          3. I love Wegmans and love to shop there...but only at 6 a.m.! The traffic is horrendous at our local Wegmans (and I agree, NOT at all the store's fault!) to such a degree that my family even jokes when I go there--i.e., "going to brave all the zombies?" It's such a great store, but SO MANY shoppers come into the little entryway and STOP DEAD like they never saw food before, then stagger around like the living dead. I think it's just the traffic pattern, with the coffee counter just inside and so on. It was especially bad when they first opened, and I thought it would get easier. Little did I know. So now I go before work and never on weekends. Great fish, wonderful selection of produce

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: dberg1313

                                              He he dberg! That sounds like me! Especially the first few times I went to Wegmans. My friend John did it too. He was like Oooooo the holy grail of foody goodness!

                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                Heh PattiCakes! My thoughts exactly. I think Wegmans has the best cheesecake made by a supermarket but I do need to do more research. Been meaning to try Hennings but even for one slice they get a pretty penny. And I have some TJs cheesecake in my freezer for a real emergency.

                                                1. re: givemecarbs

                                                  Have you tried the Chocolate Chocolate cake? They also make it in a mini size, perfect for 4 people with a small appetite, or 2 with issues! It is fabulous and absolutely delicious. It's from a family recipe by a Wegman's employee. You have to try it if you like chocolate. They also have a carrot cake (another favorite of mine), that is from another Wegman's employee recipe. Equally delicious if you like carrot cake.

                                                  1. re: mschow

                                                    Tried them both mschow. And yes I did get the chocolate cake meant for four and two of us ate it he he he! It was sublime. I could go for some of that carrot cake right now. And John and I shared a decent slice at the Montgomeryville Borders the other night. It wasn't bad, the secret was to read my magazine while I let the cream cheese icing come to room temperature.

                                                2. re: dberg1313

                                                  yep, i still remember my first sighting: more varieties of perfectly ripe tomatoes than i ever knew could exist in one place! i swear i spent a week's salary on tomatoes. :)

                                                  oh, and because this store's marketing people are genius, there was a fresh moz display right next to the tomatoes. guess what i had for dinner that night.

                                                3. I don't know if it's too late to respond to this, but the Wegman's Stores in Syracuse and Rochester have been known for years for their family and for their customer service. The further away from headquarters you get, the dicier the customer service is. I've been living in Philadelphia for 12 years and have a pretty good idea of what Philly considers good customer service to be; and it doesn't live up to the standards of Upstate New York. Please note that people in USNY use their horn to say "hi!" not to say FU and they wave to total strangers. The people up there are just more friendly. Frankly the employee pool in Philly isn't good enough or friendly enough for a Philadelphia Wegmans and it would ruin their reputation for customer service. Trader Joe's can pull it off because their stores are small and they are a different type of store.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: syracusenative

                                                    Syracusenative, you are correct. I grew up with Wegmans.There is one on every corner and I use to see Danny Wegman in the store from time to time. I tell you what, I'll talk to him the next time I see him...convince him to build one here in Philly. Haha, I wish. Great company to work for too! A few of my friends received scholarships to college for working there in high school.

                                                  2. The reason Wegmans are not all over the place is because they are very particular about their stores. They only open a few a year and they take their time doing so. Danny Wegman and his team would often visit the stores in Upstate NY and it helped keep everyone in line... Maybe he should pop into Princeton every now and then.... I have been to the stores here in Pa but the vibe is not the same as the stores in the Syracuse and Rochester areas. Rochester even has a super Wegmans!

                                                    1. Why no put one in Snyder Plaza or whatever the plaza is that has the SuperFresh along Delaware Avenue (Columbus Blvd.)? Plenty of room there I should think.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: NYChristopher

                                                        until it becomes the parking lot for a casino

                                                      2. Wegmans is particular when selecting areas for building stores. Higher income neighborhoods and surrounding areas are usually the best location for Wegmans stores. Since they are a completely private company, they have to be more selective. Additionally, accessibility is a problem in Philadelphia due to its density. I would love a Wegmans close by since I also live in NE and have to travel to Cherry Hill. But I do not see Wegmans building a store near NE Philly any time soon due to lack of affluent clientelle.

                                                        1. Syracusenative is correct. Having lived in Syracuse for nearly 15 years in the 1980's-early 90's, and now in the Philly suburbs for 18 years, USNY'ers are more like midwest folks, very friendly. Philly area folks are not friendly by nature, and that is reflective as to why the quality of the Wegman's are not the same in the Philly-NJ region as it is in upstate N.Y. Wegman's would never fly in Philly city proper, simply not enough friendly people that would translate to Wegman's quality workers. Throw in Philly's ridiculously unfriendly business taxes, and Pa.'s archaic and likewise ridiculous beer sales laws, and the concept simply doesn't work like it should and does in upstate N.Y. Was just at a Binghamton Wegman's location this past week, what a difference from Warrington and Downingtown. They can't replicate the concept in SE Pa.