Wegmans Food Markets’ newest store is its largest. And it’s also the New York-based chain’s first store that is classified as being in New England.
The store that opened Oct. 16 in Northborough, Mass., is 138,000 s.f.
A Wegmans press release says that shopping at the megastore will be “fun,” and that every customer will find what they need under one roof.
Store Manager Kevin Russell and his team of 600 employees have been working for months toward one goal: “to dazzle customers with incredible service, selection, and low prices, from day one and every day thereafter,” the release also said.
“We’re so proud to introduce Wegmans to New England we can hardly wait to open the doors,” Russell said. “We aim to give our new customers a shopping experience they’ll love…a real feast for the senses.”
The Northborough store has 70,000 products—about twice the average number at traditional grocery stores, according to industry figures.
As shoppers move through the store, they will have a sense of visiting different shops as one would in a European village. Racks in the charcuterie are hung with Jamon Iberico de Bellota ham from Spain along with smoke-scented Speck hams from Germany and Prosciutto di Parma hams from Italy, for example.
“Think of it as being an adventure,” Russell said. “It’s a lot to take in all at once, but our people are trained to help each step of the way, from finding exactly want you want to answering questions like ‘tell me an easy way to prepare tilapia that my family will love.’”
The company is spending $2.9 million on training and dispatching nearly 1,000 employees from other stores to pitch in for a few weeks at the Northborough store. And 75 of the 600 permanent workers in Northborough are coming from other Wegmans locations, according to the Boston Globe.
The newspaper also predicted that the Wegmans opening is likely to raise the stakes for every grocery seller in the region. While the company has fewer stores than other supermarket chains, its combination of natural and organic products (like Whole Foods ), bulk merchandise (like BJ’s Wholesale Club) and low prices (like Market Basket) give it an “outsized presence” in the industry.
The store also features a cheese shop with 300 domestic and imported varieties; a Mediterranean bar with more than 100 offerings like olives and hummus; a make-your-own trail mix bar; and chef-prepared meals for $6.
Employees will chop fresh fruit and vegetables in the produce aisles so customers can take home customized stir fries and salads, the Globe article said.
Wegmans is a 79-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The family-owned company was founded in 1916.
“It’s taken more than 15 years for the company to break into Massachusetts,” Danny Wegman told the Globe.
The CEO said tight real estate and competitors kept his company out of the state for this long.
Earlier this year Wegmans froze prices on 40 items until January 2012 in consideration of the current economy.