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Nov 11, 2009 06:00 PM

Wegman's Leesburg: @145,000 square feet the largest in the chain.

We stopped in this afternoon. Remarkably, of the 1,000+ parking spaces available there was one waiting for us. Of course I'm certain that the other forty five or fifty cars crusing the parking lot and garage were upset but we were inside of the store only a few minutes after turning off of Route 7.

This is the largest Wegman's of all: 145,000 square feet which is 15,000 larger than Sterling and 20,000 larger than Fairfax. Five thousand square feet larger than Fredericksburg. Twenty seven registers for the grocery store and, I think, two more for the "carryout." (Fairfax by the way is the highest grossing Wegman's of all, with their Rochester flagship second and Sterling a close third.)

It was packed. Packed!!! We spent almost an hour wandering the aisles, comparing features in Leesburg vs. Sterling, Fairfax and Pittsford among others. Is it the best? No. I still prefer Fairfax. But it's awfully good. Certainly far superior to almost any other grocery store in the D. C. area. Or any area for that matter. It's competition? Wegman's Sterling and Wegman's Fairfax. And, maybe an Auchon east of Paris. Still, Wegman's defines what every other grocer wants to be.

After leaving I actually thought that if Whole Foods opened their largest store across the street (say, Austin or Manhattan) I would still go to Wegman's.

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  1. The Ft. Belvoir location at Buleah Road can't open fast enough.

    1. Hey Joe, thanks for the report. One note: If people are looking for Wegmans in "Sterling," the official location is "Dulles."

      We now have four Wegman's within about 30 minutes -- Dulles, Fairfax, Leesburg, and Gainesville -- but none close enough to be our regular market. So it's still H-T for us, until Wegmans notices the Route 50 corridor. Grrrr.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob W

        I want one within 15 minutes! When I need to go out that way, I usually swing by the Fairfax Wegman's, rarely with something in mind that I want to buy, and just look around. Usually I come out empty-handed. It's just too much. I don't love groceries and trappings enough to spend an hour there.

        I wish we'd have a Fry's Electronics in the neighborhood, though. That's a "grocery" store where I can spend an hour. <g>

      2. We drive from Dupont to the Fairfax store regularly anymore. I've given up on Whole Foods for regular shopping and don't even get me started on the 17th St Safeway.

        We went to the Dale City Weggies on the way home from Quantico one day, but I'm so used to the Fairfax store it was hard to focus!

        To me, the Columbia one can't open fast enough - but I'm not sure if that's any closer than Fairfax...

        1. Thanks for the review. Way too far for me so I will continue to let anticipation build until the Beulah branch opens.

          5 Replies
          1. re: tcamp

            Beulah branch as in Beulah Road Vienna? Or some other Beulah?

            As much as I love Wegman's I'm a very infrequent shopper there. The locations are way too far out to work with my busy life. I'd drive to a Vienna, VA location.

            1. re: Indy 67

              Telegraph Road & Beulah Road (Ft. Belvoir) , according to the Wegman's Web site.

              These are 2 different Beulah Roads.

              1. re: Lori D

                The Wegman's in Fairfax has "premium" soups, i.e. butternut squash and cream of crab. The cream of crab paled next to Ray's or the Narrows. The butternut squash was well worth the $7.95 for 16 ounces. In fact I've been back twice for this. Leesburg has a "burrito bar" that looked really interesting.

                A critical note about Leesburg: the wine store was a real disappointment. Just aisles of shelves and more aisles of shelves with no real character, no real personality to it. Wegman's is weak on this in almost all of its stores. (The Wine Library in Springfield, NJ is the model that I would suggest for Wegman's to look at-an ambience that just makes you WANT to shop there.) Additionally, rather than separating California from Washington and Oregon all were lumped together as "West Coast wine." I was shocked at this. Overall, the pricing was fairly good, in general reflecting a 10% discount before a 5% case discount. Very good selection. My criticism is mostly for the "Total" kind of ambience feeling that they missed an opportunity with this. As strong as they are in creating a kind of European market and food hall kind of ambience elsewhere they really fall down with their marketing of wine.

                1. re: Joe H

                  I agree 100% about the wine store -- which is kind of surprising from a store that does everything else so right. I think the selection is pretty pedestrian and it's awfully soulless for a wine shop. There are a very few good things but you have to really, really look. But the preponderance of it is, I am sorry to say, dreck.

                  1. re: voaguy

                    I think the wine store in Dulles is nice if you know who to talk to, they're very helpful and always have nice recommendations.
                    They may not be top of the line but not a bad place to find wine at a decent price, lower than the other grocery chains that sell main stream wine, and Wegman's will take it another step from there by offering other than just mainstream.

          2. We took my Father who is from the real Western Maryland to the Wegman's in Fairfax- he was so overwhelmed it took probably at least 3 hours to get through it, but he loved it. Now they stop at the Fredericksburg location on the way to their house in the Northern Neck.

            I will alert him about Leesburg, since that is around 15 it might be convenient for him. It is interesting the differences between stores. The Gainsville location has a walk in beer refrigerator, but no loose leaf tea, and not as many gourmet items. Sterling also lacks some of the things in the Fairfax store. We make the 13 mile drive (which takes more than 13 minutes unfortunately) out to Fairfax from Arlington about once a month. It is amazing how much cheaper it is than HT and Whole Foods, for us worth the drive in price and quality.

            9 Replies
            1. re: ktmoomau

              We definitely schlep to Fairfax because of how much cheaper it is than WF (and any other store in our area). Not just that, but we find that it has more local produce than whole foods.

              I'm sticking by my idea that Wegmans should open "Weggies Express" or something like that in cities - smaller, but with the prepared food and Wegman's brand items to compete with WF. Sort of like Tesco in London. But man, to stop and get something at Wegmans in the city would be PRICELESS.

              1. re: Jeserf

                London! Ah, London! When I think of London, of England I think of Pret et Manger. Singlehandedly this company turned the U. K. into a prepackaged sandwich obsessed nation. Wegman's could do the same. Serious. That is one direction they have not gone in yet: Pret et Manger style sandwiches. They have the salads and the soups (Leesburg had 11 or 12 different kinds including several I've not seen in other stores); but the Pret sandwiches would be the exclamation point!

                1. re: Joe H

                  I think if they had something like "Wegman's Express" in the city, their prepared foods would put WF to shame, and be a place for locals to have lunch or a casual dinner.

                  Pret is a different beast (though I do enjoy it), but if Weggies could fill a corner space a la 17th St Safeway and provide great prices for what city dwellers need....omg I'd be a happy camper. I hope they consider this, as much as I enjoy exploring the huge stores. Don't cities deserve some Weggies love, too?

                  1. re: Jeserf

                    Try to find 145,000 sq feet in the city... Wait, the Redskins don't really need their stadium.;-)

                    1. re: chowser

                      Stadium isn't in the city ;)

                      But the idea that Wegmans could fill a store the size of the crappy Safeway on 17th St is a good one. Kick out the horrible, overpriced, horrible employee filled Socialist Safeway and put in a Wegmans Express like Tesco in London! UNITE!

                      1. re: Jeserf

                        Watching the flaming out-of-control car wreck called Safeway is getting entertaining, as the local NoVA stores close their once-acceptable bakeries, sell only the junk "Primo Taglio" deli items, put phony plastic boosters under all the fake fresh vegetable "piles", and eject familiar brand names for ever more trickster Safeway brands. What horrible management they have, unable to run a simple grocery store circa 1965.

                    2. re: Jeserf

                      You know there is a Pret in Washington, downtown. And it's owned by McDonald's...not that this should in anyway be held against the chain as some will wont to do.

                    3. re: Joe H

                      I'm confused as to why "prepackaged sandwich obsessed nation" is a good thing.

                      1. re: Hal Laurent

                        Very Good One. While in London that seemed to be the story in Tesco, M&S, and I think several other grocery stores.