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Wegman's- looks like it's really happening?

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  1. I shop at Wegman's occasionally in New York/New Jersey and they are nothing special. Mostly conventional foods with a slightly better shopping experience. It's better than say Pathmark. A & P, and our own Shaw's for sure, but it's like a gussied up Super Stop & Shop.

    Certainly closer to conventional than to say, WF. Who knows maybe they did their demographic research and figured out they don't need expensive groceries out there. Anything but Shaw's iMO.

    14 Replies
    1. re: tatsu

      stop & shop?? You gotta be kiddin me. You must be going to some old/nasty wegmans or something, dunno. even 20 years ago, wegmans was much better than any stop&shop ive ever seen. Id say its closer to a Roche Brothers or Whole foods but even those dont compare. I lived in rochester for about 7 years and shopped Wegmans exclusively so im quite familiar with them.

      1. re: hargau

        Old/nasty Wegman's, ha ha! Well, who knows where they fall in the continuum of quality. Not particularly focused on the trends of local or organic let's say, but I have seen $1000/lb truffles wilting away in produce, literally on a cart with a plastic hood, totally unmanned. Then the next aisle will have like cracker barrel cheese. And don't forget all the romance paperbacks and teen magazines you will ever need, it's so hot mess.

        1. re: tatsu

          The one I'm most familiar with is BIG. It has a bank, photo processing film lab, florist, redbox, cafe on the second floor, pharmacy, rotisserie, sushi, chinese-american take out bar, pizza, big wine/liquor shop, and most importantly, Dunkin Donuts. I'm sure I forgot a few things too.

          Plus those sad little "please take me home!" 1000 dollar a pound truffles.

          1. re: tatsu

            OK sounds like one of the new/large ones.. The reason i said this was that when i lived in Rochester there were some real old/lousy wegmans also.. Sort of like the worst market basket you can think of. I think they may have closed most of those down by now though.

            1. re: hargau

              There are still several "old/nasty" Wegmans in central NY, around Syracuse and the finger lakes towns, mostly in older neighborhoods that don't have other supermarkets.

              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                Yes, I used to shop at an old, nasty Wegmans in the early 90's when I was in graduate school at Syracuse . . . but as I recall, if I drove further out of the way, there was a deeeluxe Wegmans there. Overall, my impression is that they're nicer than any of our regional conventional groceries.


            2. re: tatsu

              Don't forget the excellent bakery, massive cheese selection, great specialty products (10-15 kinds of lox?), huge produce selection, etc. etc.

              1. re: hckybg

                Hmm, well I missed the lox. Ok, I'd be willing stop by for some free samples, heh heh.

                My reaction to Wegman's is pretty neutral, while the scale is impressive sometimes, the crazy mix of Teen Beat magazines over here and insanely expensive truffles over there leaves me scratching my head in wonderment as to what they are trying to go for. Everything?

        2. re: tatsu

          I shopped at Wegman's in Ithaca, NY regularly for several years. What I appreciated most was the, IMO, very high quality and relatively cheap house brands. For example, the Wegman's in Ithaca had six or seven different regional varieties of store-brand Italian olive oil (Tuscan, Sicilian, etc) -- they weren't the best olive oil I've ever had, but they were about the same price per liter as the Whole Foods 365 brand generic extra virgin olive oil, and certainly have a lot more character. I used to buy the Tuscan one all the time for making pesto. The cheese counter at the Wegman's I used to shop at is also better than I've seen at any Whole Foods around here, although obviously not as good as any of the specialty cheese shops.

          Yes, it is true that the produce isn't any better, and may be slightly worse than Whole Foods, although the Wegman's in Ithaca did a good job of featuring local produce in the summer.

          1. re: greenzebra

            I'll defend the Ithaca Wegman's against any 3 other stores combined: Trader Joe's + Market Basket + Whole Foods? Wegman's wins every time. I can't speak to older locations.

            The head cheese guy at the Ithaca Wegman's used to get sent to France once per year for research and buying purposes. Now, you're telling me that happens at Stop and Shop? I doubt it.

            As for up-front discussion of products, I remember years ago seeing the pale salmon at the fish counter at Wegman's with a placard discussing feeding of dyes to farmed salmon and why the salmon they had was not bright pink. This was my first education in this practice. Of course, they had wild salmon too. Just another example of presenting the consumer with choices and full disclosure.

            Another plus for Wegmans- the Ithaca store at least would let you park your kids at the W-kids play area and leave them for up to an hour while you shopped, free of charge. I don't think you'll find that anywhere else around here, and I can only hope they continue that practice in Northborough as I've got a little one on the way and would love to finally be able to take advantage of it!

            1. re: Parsnipity

              They have a guy just for head cheese? Wow, I gotta get to this place!

              1. re: justbeingpolite

                I thought the same thing! Now if they have a Pimiento Loaf guy as well, I'm all in!

            2. re: greenzebra

              I've been spending time in Rochester, Wegman's home. I go to an older store on the south side and a flagship store on the east (in Brighton).

              If your expectations are for some giant, skylit architecture, you will be disappointed because they don't spend money on that. Ceilings can be low with variable quality lighting. A nice Publix in FL looks much nicer and some of the big Shaws around here do as well. But Wegmans has a lot of stuff. They carry a very large number of sku's, meaning lots of variety across the board. They also carry a wider variety of fruits & veggies. So for example, I found not only raspberries but 3 kinds, all reasonably priced.

              They also mix items in so you buy on impulse. For example, you'll be in fruit and they'll have some cheeses on sale, often really nice ones.

              They'll also make sandwiches, which isn't unusual, but I've taken some to the produce department and weighed them. It's not uncommon to be over 2 lbs. They don't charge by the ounce.

              A few other markets carry a large number of sku's but that style of operation - like Shopping Center Markets in Detroit - has been almost blown out by lower cost, less depth, bigger operations.

            3. re: tatsu

              Some replies regarding irradiated beef were moved to General Topics: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740322

            4. I too have been unimpressed with Wegman's. After reading and hearing the rave reviews my expectations may have been too high, but the store in Ithaca, NY, with which I'm most familiar, seems pretty much like a Super Stop n Shop to me except a lot of shoppers seemed to enjoy the in-house made stir fries and such.

              11 Replies
              1. re: yumyum

                Where are these Super Stop and Shops you guys speak so highly of?? In my experience Stop and Shop is the worst grocery store we have in this area. So you must be going somewhere different?

                1. re: hargau

                  While I typically shop at Market Basket, I also hit up the Super S&S in Medford, which has been recently renovated. Because of the demographics and location, the produce has great turnover -- and there is a vast selection of things like Italian tomatoes, pasta, grating / finishing cheeses, etc. I'm sure like all things the quality varies from market to market -- but if you are psyched about Wegmans then that's cool too.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Oh, no. Uh uh. I went to school in Ithaca and adore Wegmans. I now live right near the Medford Stop and Shop and shop there all the time. Although the renovation was good, it still simply cannot COMPARE to Wegmans. No. They shouldn't even be referred to in the same breath. Wegmans has cheeses, breads, breads with cheese in them, various on-site dining options, dry cleaning (!), sushi, desserts. If Stop and Shop and the River St. Whole Foods were magically in the same building, then I might be able to start to draw comparisons to Wegmans. Also, while the Ithaca one is great, the Wegmans in NJ near my in-laws is downright AMAZING. They sell Riedel stemware there! They stock multiple kinds of duck breast! Please. Stop and Shop has a long long way to go. They can't even keep their 4 self serve produce scales all working at the same time.

                    1. re: ginafly

                      My brother and his partner live in Mendon NY, so we always go to the Mother Ship in Pittsford - which, while it is not flawless (they can stint on having normal stuff that they should have a general grocer), is heads and above anything in the greater Boston area.

                      But I don't expect to go out of my way to Northborough.

                      And, it should be noted, even that Wegman's can't compare to the 32+ operating registers at the Chelsea MB. .... I've had friends from Boston who have finally gotten their visas and shots to cross the Charles and Mystic rivers and seen the light in Chelsea.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        That's the issue for me as well: good for the Worcester area for getting a Wegman's, but particularly with gas prices as they are, I just don't imagine most people in Boston will be driving nearly two hours round-trip to go grocery shopping on a regular basis.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Correct. however, there are literally a million people living in Greater Boston who are "only" within 20-30 min of Northborough. A good chunk of Metrowest is no more than 15-20 miles from Northborough and, in many cases, far less. I live about 18 miles from Northborough and the $5 in gas it will cost me to drive there will not deter me if it is that much better than every other grocer in my area especially since I only tend to grocery shop about twice a month during the summer and I get my produce at farmer's markets.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            I commute every day from Newton to Worcester and drive right by that 9/20 intersection. I'm looking forward to an alternative to WF in Newton.......not more expensive than they are, is it?

                          2. re: Karl S

                            The new Burlington one is pretty decent as well.

                            1. re: Karl S

                              Wegman's has good quality and selection, no doubt. But the prices at the Pittsford one (the only that I have been to) are crazy high. Even if one opened across the street, I would would still shop at MB.

                            2. re: ginafly

                              gina, thanks much for those details, As one unaquainted with W's, I had no understanding of what made it special until your helpful post.

                          3. re: hargau

                            My local S&S is pretty nasty too, old produce and dirty floors. But, there is a Super S&S a few towns over and it is a whole different story - huge, clean, much bigger selection. Too bad it is a bit too far away for daily shopping.

                        2. I think some people have been shopping at the local options so much, they have forgotten what a good grocery store is like.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: steve999

                            the one in rochester has a kosher deli as well as a regular one

                            1. re: sysco kid

                              The "kosher" deli may be a deli but it certainly is NOT Kosher! None are. Wegmans wont do what is nessisarty to really have a Kosher deli couter,

                              1. re: Prettypoodle

                                What do they need to do that they aren't doing?

                                1. re: emannths

                                  Not getting kashrut certification, maybe?

                          2. Very familiar with W in the Rochester area. Big, good variety, VERY expensive. Nothing special.

                            1. I've only shopped at one in Pennsylvania. It has a big selection of meats, cheeses, prepared foods, specialty stuff, etc. compared to the typical store around there. I'm not sure the same thing here would be anything special. And while it's new and big and nice, I don't like shopping there. For some reason they've got big carts and narrow isles, with all sorts of displays in the aisles. It's really hard to get around even if it's not busy, but it usually seems really busy so even worse. Or maybe it just seems busy 'cause people can't get through the darn aisles?

                              The other thing that drives me nuts is they seem to put subsets of things in multiple places. So say I wanted to buy, say, BBQ sauce. (Just an example, I make my own like a good CH ;) Overlapping subsets of all the ones they carry will be like 3 different places in the store, so I can't just look at what they have and pick something.

                              So I see it as ok for a long session of recreational grocery shopping when in the mood, but lousy for actually getting the grocery shopping done. I can come out of there with all sorts of stuff but not find half the things I actually needed.

                              1. In Northborough? Where on earth is Northborough?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BobB

                                  About halfway between Worcester and 495. The site is at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 20. In other words, 45 minutes to an hour outside of Boston.

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    AKA 15 minutes down the road from me. Sweet.

                                2. At the risk of restarting this eternal debate, there is now an official target date for the Northborough Wegman's of October 16, 2011.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    Why so long?

                                    Were they waiting to make sure the Rapture didn't happen before spending $$?

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Construction takes time, especially in this economy.

                                  2. If you have Best Food Writing 2004, check out Rick Nichol's essay called the Mother of All Markets about his first trip to a Wegman's. The essay originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003.

                                    1. I don't know about anybody else but I am SUPER EXCITED about Wegmans. It will take me about an hour to get there but I don't care. I love Wegmans. Love it, love it. I've been to one near Syracuse (it must not be the same one mentioned below, because it was huge) and one in Virginia. And as several people mentioned, it can't even begin to compare to Stop and Shop. I certainly won't be going there on a weekly basis or anything, but I will definitely be going. My sister lives in Marlborough and I already told her we're going there the week it opens :)

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: massgirl

                                        Wow! This place is drawing cult status like IKEA! All in all, it doesn't make sense to grocery shop 50 miles away from your house unless you live in the Crown of Maine, or somewhere similarly populated. Plus the quality ratio might be a store to store thing. I generally hate Stop & Shop, but the one in North Quincy is pretty good all in all.

                                        1. re: Guinness02122

                                          A good Wegman's -- and has been noted here and elsewhere, the majority of new Wegman's stores are good, with the mediocre ones being the older stores in their upstate New York home base -- is indeed a very good grocery store. I fear there's going to be a certain amount of backlash hereabouts once the store actually opens just because the Cult Of Wegman's does get a bit excessive sometimes (remember what happened here when H-Mart finally opened in Burlington?), but for folks like Science Chick above who live and/or work in that area, it'll be great, and for the rest of us, it'll be a fun little occasional stop. Who doesn't like going to new grocery stores, after all.

                                          3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline


                                            Perhaps the most important but less immediately obvious effect will be the competitive pressure it will put on the top half of the supermarket market - people who think its downmarket to shop at MB or Price Rite (their loss, IMO) and who get stuck thinking S&S and Shaw's offer good value, when they don't do so as much as they ought to for the prices they charge (unless you have the time to become a super coupon athlete, which changes the game).

                                            We need more Wegmans here to help kick competitive butt. The consolidation of supermarket chains in the Greater Boston area in the 1990s allowed a huge lazy factor to set in. And the consolidation of inventory in the current recession has just deepened the malaise.

                                            1. re: Karl S

                                              Wegman's in that location will have considerable competition, with a spanking new Price Chopper just down the street, and a couple of large S&S's also nearby, as well as a Shaw's in Shrewsbury. Should be interesting!

                                              1. re: Science Chick

                                                Oh, is Price Chopper coming into the area? I shop those around Albany every summer and they're fairly decent stores.

                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                  There has been a Price Chopper in Shrewsbury on Rt. 9 for as long as I can remember. It used to be in the Fairlawn Shopping Center, where Maple St. meets Rt. 9 (westbound side). They recently moved into spanking new (larger) digs farther east at the intersection of Rt. 9 and South Street. Haven't been to the new one, but it is only ~ 1.5 miles from where the Wegman's is going in.

                                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                    Price Chopper has been a tenant of ours around Worcester for years.

                                                    1. re: lergnom

                                                      Looks like there's one in Marlborough too.

                                            1. re: ChocolateMilkshake

                                              be still my heart!

                                              also, new MB, hmart, AND wegmans? holy traffic!

                                              1. re: marcreichman

                                                And, totally off topic, Nordstrom Rack!

                                                Back on topic, it will be great to have another good grocery store nearby. Yes, the traffic on the Middlesex TP will worsen. So I plan to just shop during the week.

                                              2. re: ChocolateMilkshake

                                                Office park on 3rd Avenue...so that's on the outer side of 128 so it's not right next to MB and H-Mart, but still: the NIMBYs around there are gonna freak the eff out about the traffic load on the Middlesex Turnpike. Those who want this Wegman's to happen better keep an eye out for town meetings on the topic and attend them to let your opinions be heard, because the opposition is always more united than the supporters.

                                                3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803

                                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                  I can't imagine it will be as bad as the gong show that was the Whole Foods / JP meeting the other night.

                                                2. re: ChocolateMilkshake

                                                  Wow. They are getting aggressive. Still no big deal to me. As I said the Pittsford store was horribly overpriced for the same stuff you can get at MB. They do have a nice variety of gourmet items, though.

                                                  1. re: Chris B.

                                                    I never noticed the prices to be any higher than Tops (the other major supermarket in the area)..
                                                    I shopped there for at least 7 years.

                                                    1. re: hargau

                                                      Don't know Tops. I am talking about how their prices compare to local stores, specifically MB.

                                                      1. re: Chris B.

                                                        8 hours is a long way to drive for groceries. Places tend to be competitive with their local competition not always places 8 hours away

                                                        1. re: Chris B.

                                                          They generally won't compete with MB on price. They will compete with other chains on selection.

                                                    2. re: ChocolateMilkshake

                                                      Wonderful! I hope they get a liquor license.

                                                      That will throw quite a punch of competition into the local supermarket market.


                                                    3. I'm so excited! I went to Wegman's a lot at the Princeton NJ location, and was sad to lose it when I came up here for school...I can't wait for the bread, cheese, deli, bread, prepared food, bread, produce, candy, and bread!!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: jumpingarcher

                                                        Yup. Because they are the only store to carry those items. You just spend more there.

                                                      2. October 16th at 7AM is the grand opening of the Northborough store,i cant wait!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: hargau

                                                          so I predict the Roche bros. in Westboro will start its "Going out of Business" sale on October 17th...

                                                        2. Being new to New England and having grown up in Rochester NY (Wegmans home) you can imagine how disappointed we were to the grocery scene here. We quickly had terrible experiences at S&S and Shaws and have settled into to a couple trips a month to Marketbasket and only going to S&S (nearby) when we have to. From my uneducated perspective I am guessing the New England supermarket problem has a lot to do with having difficulty competing with the high union mandated wage costs. I am only guessing however. We are always amazed at why the consumers here put up with it. To be fair I have become more and more impressed with how S&S has tried (with some success) to improve on many fronts. Now Wegmans will open their very first New England store in a few weeks in Northborough. I will find it interesting to watch this. Their "model" begins with their employees who are well taken care of and chosen. They really enjoy their jobs. Wegmans for two years running was voted by Fortune Magazine to be the best private company to work for in the USA. Not a small achievement. Then they move to the "customer experience" - - if you have not been to one of their stores you are in for a treat. Expecially if you are a "foodie". You want olives? They will have a hundred varieties all beautifully displayed. Since we have not been living in a Wegmans area for some time I am not really sure of relative costs - - they won't be the cheapest I imagine. They seem to tend to locate in affluent areas where price may be less of an issue. I find I save up to 50 percent just by shopping at MB compared to S&S but that margin is reducing recently.
                                                          I am really happy that Wegmans has decided to move into New England and wish them great success. I think it will be a win-win for everybody.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: davefoxdad

                                                            Not unions. You happen to come from an area that developed a higher service market. A few markets have them but most of the other grocers in Rochester aren't like Wegman's. Neither are most in Austin, Detroit, St. Louis, all places with one chain that's higher service, better overall quality. Chains fill niches. The difference: these chains are not owned by big corporations (unless you call them big corporations on their own). S&S is owned by Royal Ahold, Shaw's by SuperValu, Hannaford's by Delhaize.

                                                            1. re: lergnom

                                                              I don't know - you could be very right. I was told once by a S&S manager that there were only three people in her store she could effectively manage (the three most senior). How do you run a successful business if you can't manage it? She also told us we would be better off going to Whole Foods as S&S would continue to disappoint us. She said they get the occasional newcomer to the area who gets initially disappointed with the store but after some time they always come back when they realize they don't have a lot of choice.

                                                            2. re: davefoxdad

                                                              (this is a reply to davefoxdad)

                                                              Personally, I take all magazine claims with a grain of salt - they're out to make money. Period. McDonald's was voted as one of the top workplaces for single moms by some magazine (I forget which, as this doesn't really interest me). This is, of course, a joke.

                                                              There are threads here where chowhounds have laughed at the stupid "Best Restaurants" lists published in magazines & other online publications. This goes for other businesses, too.

                                                              The Boston area & many other parts of Mass have other options for grocery shopping rather than the big stores. Many parts of the US don't have that option (I have no idea about Wegman's home as I've never been there).

                                                              Also, don't get me started on the idea that unions are to blame for high prices!! (again, this could get tossed by the mods)... stores will charge as high a price as the market will handle, and pay as cheap as they can. Some companies are decent, but some aren't, and IMHNSO, those workers should be protected. There's very little of that in this country today (again, that's IMHNSO).

                                                              Wegman's might be a terrific grocery store, and if that's so, I'm happy they are coming to Mass. More competition is good for customers (unless it squeezes out the little guy - and for that, I would weep).

                                                            3. I have no experience with Old, nasty Wegman's though not denying they exist. I have only shopped at recent new super Wegman's. Having been stuck with Acme and local chains both
                                                              of which know they are doing you a big favor allowing you to shop there: I have found both the new Wegman's and the new WF super stores super. Be careful at both, yes some really high prices on some items. But significantly more diverse offerings in all departments. Great quality, great prices well perhaps not, but choices! Love having options to shop either or none!