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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.

                2. I get overwhelmed at the Fairfax location, I can't imagine dealing with one even larger.

                  1. And the fools in the Montgomery County government legislate against Wegman's (reportedly) at the behest of Giant Foods. So we go to Virginia and Hunt Valley until Wegman's opens in PG and Columbia. Then Giant Foods be damned!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: skipper

                      As someone who grew up here and started going to Giant in a stroller (!), I haven't been in a Giant in a couple of years now. Between Harris Teeter, Wegman's, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, for me, Giant no longer exists.

                      1. re: Joe H

                        Joe -- we're pretty much in the same boat. My wife grew up in Baltimore, and I went to college in B'more in the late 70s, so we've been Giant customers for decades, but once H-T entered the market (never mind the other stores), Giant is now barely on our radar screen.

                        Izzy Cohen has got to be rolling over in, oh you know.

                      2. re: skipper

                        Yeah, there are very strict laws in MoCo preventing the development of stores over a certain square footage that have a food section and a pharmacy. It only really affects Wegmans, Target and Walmart. UFCW (whom I assume organizes Giant employees) fought tooth and nail for it because Wegmans isn't a union store.

                        Without going into the union argument, I'll just say that Wegmans consistently makes the "best employer" lists, while Giant is nowhere to be seen.

                        1. re: reiflame

                          Even moreso, it's been in the top 10 best employers for almost a decade now. It's really interesting to see how the stores have changed from upstate NY to down here.. but yeah Columbia can't open fast enough (it's been fought off for like what, 3-4 years now?)

                          1. re: Turkeybone

                            Sounds like an AMAZING place to go play Hide-N-Go-Seek :)

                            1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                              See where they're hiding the items that I seek?

                              I, too, find the Fairfax Wegman's (the only one I've visited) to be overwhelming. If I shopped for more than myself, and if I had a freezer other than what's built into the (rather small) refrigerator, I'd find shopping trips there more worth while. But since I have a Shopper's, Grand Mart, and Safeway within walking distance, and Harris Teeter and two Trader Joes within less than 15 minutes, all I really miss is a very good meat department. But since I've cut back on serious meat eating, I can manage with what I can find in the grocery stores and go to Ray's two or three times a year when I feel like having a steak.

                              I'll tell you that it helps to be retired with a fair amount of time that I can juggle. I probably go to a grocery store 3-4 times a week.

                      3. So what makes it different than the Fairfax one?

                        More aisle space?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: WestIndianArchie

                          I shop at Wegmans Dulles, and it can be quite busy, I hope the Leesburg location helps ease the traffic at Dulles, but some how I doubt it.
                          Ate at the seafood bar Monday Night and it was packed and they needed help.
                          The service was slow, but polite and grace under pressure.
                          The food was good we tried oysters on the half shell 1.95 ea. Shrimp cocktail diced and served in a mini flute like glass with cocktail sauce mixed in. Crabcake was small but very tasty at 11.99 served with mixed greens salad. Wife had steak thinly cut but with salad and nice char from the grill. We also were thrilled to try a nice wine from South Africa and a merlot from Washington state good value wines at 5.00 and 6.00 dollars. Then we brought over a dessert from the patisserie and ate that for 5.00 dollars...All and all our bill was 70.00 with 3 glasses of wine + maryland crab soup, oysters, shrimp cocktail, Ny steak+salad crabcake + salad and a choc/pistaccio mousse cake. Not bad, plus they don't except tips.

                          1. re: keithlb1

                            Sounds more like a restaurant than a grocery store!

                            1. re: keithlb1

                              I strongly believe that the Leesburg store is "cannibalizing" the Dulles store. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was no better than a regular Saturday and the Saturday after Thanksgiving was actually slow. Yes, slow. Only 9 or 10 registers open and not more than a single person in line at each. There were a lot of pies and cakes leftover from the Holiday which were on sale @ something like 30-40% off.

                              I wonder if Rochester believes that Leesburg was a mistake?

                              1. re: Joe H

                                I noticed that also, but I still think Dulles gets a ton of business.

                                1. re: Joe H

                                  I think the problem for Dulles isn't Leesburg. I think it's the end of the I-66 corridor bubble and AOL out there. There's a mind boggling amount of commercial office space that used to be filled. The residential rental market is also really soft. I think it's a sign of the economy in general.

                                  1. re: jschow

                                    The problem with the Dulles store is getting in and out of the parking lot!

                                    The lot itself is poorly designed, and then only road in and out is Waxpool road, where one can wait multiple traffic light cycles to get out.

                                    I never consider going to Wegmans on weekends or holiday periods. I also avoid rush hours (6-9 and 4-7 on weekdays.

                                    Leesburg has no main road access problems, however traffic flow in the parking lot is bizarre, with the only exit being a strange routing through the unfinished "town center".

                                    VDOT did a terrible job designing the Rt28/Waxpool interchange, closing off several access roads to local businesses. Immediately afterwards, the rest of the shopping plaza around Wegmans was completed, making traffic flow awful.

                                    It must be a VDOT or Virginia area problem, as the upstate NY stores have parking lots where one can easily and safely enter and exit from the main road - what a concept!