The long-awaited opening of Wegman’s newest location is finally here and the doors open at 6 am on Sunday, July 23rd, and not a moment too soon. With the new Hanover location of 113,000 square feet, Wegmans brings its 100 years of experience and stellar customer service reputation to the area. When I visited the store for a preview before opening day, I had one question in mind to answer … why Wegmans?
With many area grocery stores, I wanted to be able to share why a consumer might choose Wegmans over a competitor, and I got my answer in nearly every aisle. Literally.
Initially started as a produce push cart, there are many nods to Wegman’s beginning throughout the store. The produce department is literally a feast for your eyes, with over 700 different fruits and vegetables available, and 100-150 organic produce offerings daily. The Wegman’s team works hard to tie in local farmers and purveyors and opened their doors to form lasting partnerships with area vendors from the beginning.
Right inside the entrance, you’ll spot a farmhouse mural on the wall, but it’s not just any farmhouse mural. At the stroke of every hour, the sun’s rays in the mural will light up, the sun’s face will show the clock, and a rooster will pop out of the center doors. While it might catch a child’s fancy as they walk past, there is a deeper meaning behind it. It is a replica of a New York organic farm and orchard that Wegmans established in 2007 to better understand the Northeast growing season and they use this farm as a testing ground to help their growers learn how to better extend their season and sustain their operations.
The bakery department is stocked with your general fare, but they go many steps further by using grains from local farms for their breads, true color frosting for their desserts (no artificial colors), and boast up to 48 cookie varieties that you can buy by the pound.
Opposite the bakery department is their sushi area, where everything is color coded to help the die-hards and the more faint-at-heart choose just the right sushi. Wegman’s Pizza Bar boasts their second pizza oven in the country (the first one is in New York), and the oven’s interior mechanics come from Mount Vesuvious, Italy, and it was assembled in Maryland. Choose your crust, your sauce, and your toppings, and your made-to-order pizza will be done in 110 seconds in the 800 degree oven.
Six daily varieties of soup, a custom Burger Bar, and a salad bar that has to be seen to be believed means that there is no excuse to go hungry. Grab a meal and a seat in their 300+ seating area (and even a quieter space with a fireplace!), or get it to go. Marketplace cashiers will get you on your way quickly.
A specialty coffee bar awaits you and your order, and the special Nitro Cold Brew was like nothing else I’ve ever had (and I am the pickiest coffee drinker ever).
Throughout the store, customers will notice products that have a Food You Can Feel Good About logo on it, and that is put on products that have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives (and for the meat, that means the animals were raised free from antibiotics and hormones). Their seafood department features all sustainable selections that are delivered to the store daily, and your fish can be steamed for free. Again, local purveyors are sought for their fish products as well.
A dry aged case houses some beef selections, and there are over 90 organic meat choices available. Wegmans specializes in “family packs,” which will save you 30% off of smaller packages, not just in the meat section, but everywhere in the store. They also have special “keep fresh packaging,” which is designed to keep your meat fresh for up to three weeks longer than more traditional packaging.
There is no denying that Wegmans put a considerable amount of care and consideration in every decision they make, no matter how big or small. This store features Caroline’s Carts, which is a shopping cart that was designed by a mom to help shoppers accommodate special needs guests (or eliminate the need to bring a wheelchair). The parent inventor told Wegman’s about her shopping cart, and they are now being used in their stores.
There is a separate 15,000 square feet devoted to alcohol, and that is run independently by Hanover Wine, Liquor, and Beer and features a climate-controlled wine cellar and many local offerings, Jerry’s Vodka is one such example. It is a product that was brought to the Wegman’s team by two individuals that live in the state, and the vodka is made from 100% Jersey corn, and only available in New Jersey. It’s gone head-to-head with Tito’s for price and taste, and held its own time and time again.
The health- and lifestyle-conscious can find many things to celebrate at Wegmans. There is a full aisle of gluten-free products, more than 3000 organic items throughout the store, over 8000 kosher items, a make-your-own Trail Mix Bar, and a Smoothie station.
Convenience has definitely not been overlooked. Their aptly named “Convenience Case” near the front of the store lets you grab milk and go. Their free app will let you build your shopping list easily, and even sort it by store aisle, and the store features 27 check-out registers, and four self check-outs. InstaCart, allowing customers to shop from home and schedule delivery, is coming soon, and their Catering department will help you plan your next event, no matter how small or large. The pharmacy department offers competitive pricing, free home shipping, and adult immunizations.
Their commitment to the community is admirable, and they have already made a sizable food donation to the InterFaith Food Pantry before the store even opened their doors. They have a Community Giving Budget, designed to help them help the communities they serve (you can make requests online), and they work to enrich local neighborhoods and give food to the hungry.
You might be wondering … but how much does all this cost? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Wegmans believe in consistent low prices, and doesn’t publish a weekly sales ad. They strive to keep their prices consistently low (and in line with their area competitors), so you don’t have to run all over town to find the best deal, nor feel the need to stock up before the price goes up. And as I took note of the pricing in various parts of the store, they are definitely living up to their pledge.
As I left my sneak peak, I asked Valerie Fox, the Media Relations Coordinator, to tell What’s Down In Town readers what she wants them to know the most. She said, “Our people are what sets us apart and the incredible customer service makes the difference. The freshest ingredients, consistent low prices, and restaurant quality food keeps customers coming back for more.”
34 Sylvan Way