Wegmans going downhill
- linguafood Jul 13, 2014 09:06 AM
Sadly, a corporate decision has been made to streamline all stores, resulting in what I can only describe as a less than ideal shopping experience.
What once used to be an upscale supermarket is now barely discernible from Sam's or other big box stupidmarkets. Apparently, because some of the newer stores in metro areas don't have as much storage space in the back, there are now sections that basically look like the storage has been moved *into* the store.
Never mind that the international section is now spread all over the place, with an aisle for "Asian" and rice.
Linguafood- I'm also in State College, and completely agree. The tall shelves on the end don't bother me so much, but as a result of them, the other aisles are now even skinnier. And the layout has no rhyme or reason, as you mentioned. Why break out the International food into different aisles? And the seasonal items are no longer near the checkout, which I feel is a mistake. I've walked past there on many occasions and bought something on impulse while I was looking for a checkout line. Now they have coffee and tea there!
There are two Wegmans near me and the older one does seem more upscale. I miss the hot entrees with sides you could get to eat at the food court or take home. You can still get them cold and I suppose you could microwave them in store but it's not the same.
I really liked the coffee bar at the new wegmans. A few times when the place first opened my friends and I hit the pub and then relaxed with coffee after. The coffee bar used to be open til ten pm on fri and saturdays. then they cut the hours til nine but good luck getting coffee at ten of nine. Other nights it used to be nine and they dialed it back til eight. Wouldn't surprise me if everything got rolled back yet another hour.
I like the food bars but they keep taking them down earlier and earlier. And my friend John said they continued to remove food from the tray he was serving himself from. He said it was like fighting for his food.
The pub does some annoying things as well. For example I got the crab cakes appetizer, and the cakes were great but sauce was squirted all over them and I would have liked the option to have the sauce on the side.
Even in the first month the new place opened I almost got a curry sauce shower because the food bar attendant tugged on a lid or something too hard and yellow sauce sprayed the air. Luckily I have good reflexes. The newer Wegmans is in Montgomeryville and the older one is in Warrington Pa.
We just moved to Phoenixville from Wayne. As such, the Collegeville Weg's is now my "home" Wegman's. My regular used to be the KOP Wegmans. I do NOT like the Collegeville store at all. The layout is far better at KOP..and the Collegeville store's layout makes no sense--not to mention they never have Tabouli mix when I want it. Started going back to KOP on my way back from work.
I hope Wegman's isn't oversaturating itself the way ACME did.
I live in Collegeville and work in Wayne. To paraphrase the empathic sentiments of a recent ex-President..."Ah feel you' pain."
The K of P store is the "mirror image" of Collegeville as they were all designed.
For someone with life-long left-right directionality problems, I'm constantly asking for directions in K o' P trying to reorient myself in this reverse mode world.
You must be equally frustrated with Collegeville.
I must get out to C' ville to see if these diatribes of Big Box accusations are manifesting. There will be no joy in Mudville...or Collegeville...if true.
Going down hill big time! I live in the Rochester area, where corporate headquarters is located. I live in a location that's equally convenient to the newest Wegman's and to the flagship store.
Here's what I've noticed:
o In every department, more than half of the shelf space is devoted to Wegman's house brands and the selection of national or specialty brands has become increasingly limited.
For example, the shelves contain a dizzying array of Wegman's brand dressings: regular dressing, lite dressing, fat free dressing, Foods You Feel Good About dressing, organic dressing, and I'm possibly forgetting some other types. While there are some unique flavors in some of the dressing lines, the repetition of the same flavor dressing in every single formula is staggering.
The stores still carry the national names in salad dressings (e.g. Ken's, Wishbone, Paul Newman). However, the selection for each brand and each category is quite limited. The selection of small independent brands of dressings has been cut back dramatically in the 15 months since the East Avenue store opened.
While some of the Wegman's products are quite acceptable, this approach is driving out the unique and the distinctive products that the store used to keep in its shelves.
Or consider the example of bleach. Shoppers are confronted by one row of Clorox regular bleach in 64 ounces and five rows of Clorox regular bleach in the 121 ounce size. The only way to get a splashless formulation is to buy Wegman's brand or the 121 ounce size of Clorox. The rest of the bleach area is stocked with multiple rows of every conceivable formulation and fragrance of 121 ounce Wegman's brand bleach.
Presumably there is little difference between the Wegman's brand and the Clorox brand. I'm certainly not going to buy two bottles of bleach to do a head to head comparison. However, I've lost the freedom of choice.
Since I want the Splashless formulation, I'm faced with two less than wholly satisfactory options: deal with a size that is unpleasantly large and bulky or transfer bleach into a smaller bottle thus keeping two active, open bottles of bleach. I'm willing to pay a few pennies more to have the formulation I want in a size that's convenient, but Wegman's has decided I can't have that control if I shop at their store.
This creeping trend to sell only the bigger size of any item to compete financially with the big box stores is showing up in the food departments, too. For example, the East Avenue Wegman's used to offer a choice of a 12 oz, or 14 oz, or 18 ounce box of Cheerios. Within the last two weeks, the 14 ounce box has disappeared and that spot on the shelves has been replaced by the option of two bundled together 18 ounce boxes of cereal. To appreciate the absurdity of this recent switch, you have to understand that the East Avenue store is the only in-city Wegman's in existence. It is a wholly new store, built on the site of the first-ever Wegman's, and exists because corporate felt sentimental about its history. They felt they couldn't/shouldn't shutter every branch in the city where this chain began. But there's no good match between the demographic of the shoppers and the way the stores are stocked.
Admittedly there are plenty of very large 100 year old homes on the streets leading to the East Avenue store, but a sizable fraction of these have been converted to apartments so there's only one or two occupants in each unit -- not the original large families for which the houses were intended. I'm sure a house filled with four apartments shops differently from a house with large numbers of children. In my immediate neighborhood, the residents are retired couples or unmarried younger adults. Nevertheless, the stock in the East Ave branch skews toward the jumbo bargain sizes of most items.
It's principle behind these changes that bothers me. As a shopper, I feel that I'm being manipulated. It seems so blatant that the array on the shelves is for Wegman's convenience and increased profit rather than for my satisfaction.
re: Indy 67
I am so sad to hear this. I went to Eastman and used to shop at the East Ave. Wegs regularly (this was many years before the current updated iteration, however). When the Pittsford Wegs opened, I tended to do most of my shopping there, but I still visited the East Ave store for quick trips.
Anyway, I'm just sad to hear that they're going downhill - Wegmans has been my favorite grocery store since I started college and I go out of my way to go to one any time I'm in an area that has one. It's been a couple of years but I remember feeling like something had changed the last time I was in one, but I chalked it up to it being an inferior location (they all seem inferior to Pittsford!). Bummer.
re: Indy 67
I've never considered Wegmans to be a store where I'd shop for staples like paper goods, laundry products or canned goods. I shop in the Downingtown, PA store and early on it became obvious to me that the selection of such products was far smaller than in my local Giant or SuperFresh.
I shop Wegmans more for specialty items -- cheeses (and accompaniments) definitely; prepared foods; some meat and seafood products. Also bread and Asian/Indian ingredients. And I like their Mediterranean bar and hot/cold food bars.
In the Rochester area Wegmans so dominates the local markets that there isn't good competition or alternatives. There's a chain called Tops where I've shopped twice. In the downtown branch -- within one block of the only downtown Rochester Wegmans -- the store is dark and dirty looking. The higher than Wegmans prices are further disincentive. There are larger stores in the suburbs that may be more appealing. When I'm near a branch of Target I pop in for laundry products and paper goods but even these non perishables won't work for any city dweller with normal - size accommodations. There's a new independent grocery store coming to Rochester within the month and I'm looking forward to its arrival. I don't think it's arrival will challenge or threaten Wegmans but it will be a welcome addition for city dwellers.
Good to know that if I'm near a different Tops and I need some product, I ought to give a suburban branch a try. The two times I went to the University/Winton Road location, I saw a couple of jarred/canned products that I used to buy when I lived elsewhere and that Wegmans doesn't carry. However, I walked out without buying anything because the item I most needed was milk and every carton in the refrigerator case was past its pull date.