Wegmans.

Week one: I’m just here for the cookies. 

I knew opening day would be absolute madness and I had zero interest in participating in any of it. However, after touring the beautiful Triangle Parade home hopping, I found myself within a reasonable distance to check it out. 

I mean, what self respecting native Rochesterian wouldn’t? For clarity, I am NOT A FAN of crowded events at all. I knew this would be more of a get in, grab the cookies, and get out type of situation and not a leisurely grocery shopping tour. But as I got closer the excitement started to build.

Despite the elbow to elbow crowd, it was oddly comforting. Folks like me who grew up with or who had the opportunity to shop at Wegmans understand what I am talking about.

The Wegmans shopping experience is unparalleled and their tagline says it all “Every day you get our best”. Nothing is left to chance. They adhere to the highest standards from the parking lot to the restrooms. 

A little bit of Wegmans history

Wegmans is a family owned company, founded in 1916, headquartered in Rochester, NY. Danny Wegman is chairman; Colleen Wegman, his daughter, is president and CEO. Danny’s daughter Nicole Wegman is sr. vice president. Robert Wegman, Danny’s father, was chairman until his death in April 2006. 

Brothers Walter and John Wegman (Robert Wegman’s father and uncle) learned the food business by working in their parents’ store in Rochester. John peddled fresh produce from a pushcart, and in 1916, he opened the Rochester Fruit & Vegetable Company, which marks the beginning of Wegmans Food Markets. 

Walter joined him a year later. Robert Wegman assumed leadership of the company in 1950, guiding it until his death in 2006. For a more in depth overview of the company’s history, check out their origin timeline.

Quality and Choices

Wegmans understands the importance of knowing where your food comes from and seeks out family farms near their stores that share their values and commitment to high standards. With over 400 family farms, Wegmans is able to offer their customers the freshest and best quality ingredients close to home. 

With over 50,000 to 70,000 products (in the largest stores), compared to an average of just over 40,000 (according to the Food Marketing Institute) in most supermarkets. Wegmans offers more than 4,000 organic products throughout the store. Stores run 75,000 to 140,000 square feet in size, with spacious aisles.

From the hot bar to the burger bar, and prepared foods ready to heat up, they have a little something for every budget and every taste. Be sure to sign up for a Shoppers Club account to get exclusive offers and coupons, and check out Wegmans own branded products–which tend to be less expensive, high quality, and rival pricer options. 

Wegmans Strategic Growth Plans

Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain with 100 stores: 46 in New York, 18 in Pennsylvania, 9 in New Jersey, 12 in Virginia, 8 in Maryland, 6 in Massachusetts and 1 in Raleigh, North Carolina with a plan to build 3 more before 2023.

With over 9.2 billion in sales in 2018 and 49,000 employees, Wegmans ranked 28th on the 2019 Supermarket News list of the Top 75 Supermarkets based on sales volume. Ranked #3 on FORTUNE magazine’s 2019 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, Wegmans has been on the list every year since it began in 1998, and in 2005, ranked #1.

The decision to put down roots in NC is a game changer for both Wegmans and our local market. Wegmans is highly intentional with every decision and the choice to build their 100th store in Raleigh is just the beginning. 

In a recent Triangle Business Journal interview, President and CEO Colleen Wegman explained the decision to open six new stores in the triangle area, noting this scale and pace for a single market is much faster than usual for the company. 

“We’re placing a big bet here. We’re excited about the market and hope they like us there. It’s a big deal for us.”

The Triangle area checks all the boxes, with the two biggest metrics being population growth and quality of education–things the Triangle has in abundance. 

Colleen Wegman says higher education correlates closely with interest in food, and as a grocery store that sells higher-end food products, Wegmans is looking to invest in areas where people are willing to spend more on better food. Read full story here.

The West Cary location on Davis Drive and Airport Boulevard is expected to open sometime in 2020, and five additional locations in Cary (Cary Towne Blvd.), Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, and Holly Springs to follow.

Community

With 475 + new jobs at the Raleigh location and five more stores on the horizon–Wegmans is a big player in our job market and our local economy. 

From scholarships to community service, Wegmans has a proven history for giving back to the community. 

What does Wegmans have to do with Real Estate?

Everything! OK, I’ll admit my opinion may be a little biased. One thing is certain, Wegmans expanding to our market will have a major economic impact on our area, and they chose the Triangle because of its existing strength and potential.  

For a refresher, check out #7 on our list of top-level things that experienced investors consider when they look for properties to invest in from an earlier post titled Real Estate Investing – A Strategic Approach

In addition to population growth and education, Wegmans says this area is simply a great place to invest, with an eye for innovation, a healthy economy and a population of warm and caring people.

Another obvious contributing factor–land. Glorious undeveloped land. We have a lot of it. And the areas that are already developed are ripe and ready for re-development. 

“It’s such an innovative place (and) such a welcoming community,” Colleen Wegman says. “Everyone’s so warm and friendly, interested in food and culture and interested in people.”

Along with its plans for the grocery store, Wegmans has bought scores of acres around the immediate site and worked with local developers to create mixed-use hubs surrounding the store. 

These often include retail space and residential space, transforming the development into a walkable community for residents, workers and customers alike. 

“There’s a huge convenience aspect to it,” Danny Wegman says. “It really helps us make it a place people are comfortable going and hanging around.”

Rest assured, if a Wegmans is headed your way–prepare yourself for change and great things to come. 

If you’d like to learn more about available properties within a reasonable drive or walking distance to the new or future Wegmans locations, give us a call

 

All the best, Colette

 

 

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