- Wegmans is a grocery chain with a cult following.
- More than 25,000 people showed up for the opening day of the regional grocer’s 101st store, located in Brooklyn, New York, in October.
- Business Insider spoke to four Wegmans fanatics in October to see why they love the grocer so much. But we decided to visit the store for ourselves to understand the hype firsthand.
- We visited a Wegmans store in Brooklyn, New York, and found seven reasons people love the store.
For a grocery chain with just over 100 stores in the New England and mid-Atlantic regions, Wegmans has an unusually devoted fan base.
“Wegmaniacs,” as they’re sometimes called, say they love the grocery chain for a variety of reasons. Business Insider spoke to four Wegmans fanatics in October to see why they love the grocer so much, and they cited Wegmans’ products, customer service, and quality, among other features.
We also spoke to some Wegmaniacs in October, at the grand opening of the chain’s new store in Brooklyn, New York, where more than 25,000 people showed up and helped the location break opening-day sales records for the chain.
Shopper Susan Myers came at midnight to be the first person in line for the opening.
“Wegmans is a destination,” she said. “It’s the place that we love.”
Business Insider’s Irene Jiang also recently visited Wegmans for the first time and said the experience converted her to a non-certified Wegmaniac.
After shopping at Wegmans, we found seven main reasons the store is beloved by customers of various tastes.
From store design to prices, here’s why people love Wegmans.
1. STORE DESIGN: Wegmans is designed differently than your average grocer and is meant to look like a European open-air market.
From the moment you enter the store, the warm lighting and dark wood finish of the food displays make the atmosphere in the store feel cosy and intimate.
Plus, the store goes so far as to recreate the facade of a building and marketplace, complete with canopies and windows that are lit from the inside.
The store design of Wegmans makes shopping there a pleasure from start to finish.
2. PRICES: Wegmaniacs have said that the prices at Wegmans are great. We had to see it to believe it.
Wegmans’ famous $US0.49-per-pound bananas were prominently displayed at the entrance to the store.
This Wegmans-brand hummus was only $US1.99. And this type of deal seemed commonplace for the grocer.
Wegmans shoppers also have the option to join the Wegmans Shoppers Club for extra deals and coupons.
3. FRESH PRODUCE: The produce is the first section you notice when you walk in to the new Wegmans store in Brooklyn. Produce is widely cited as one of the grocer’s greatest strengths.
From the display tables to the quality of the fruit and vegetables, Wegmans goes above and beyond in the produce section.
There is also a sizable section of freshly cut fruit …
… as well as a plethora of organic options, which are indicated by green signs.
4. CUSTOMER SERVICE: Wegmaniacs love to praise the quality of the customer service at Wegmans. Turns out, they are not exaggerating.
When we stopped by on opening day, it was hard to find an employee who didn’t look thrilled to be there.
In every department, Wegmans employees were there to make sure the customers are having a satisfying shopping experience.
“I always say our secret sauce is our people,” Brooklyn store manager Kevin Cuff said on the opening day of the store.”People can copy our buildings, can copy our products that we sell, but they can’t copy our people.”
This sign found near the food court in the Brooklyn Wegmans seems to sum up the grocer’s motto pretty well.
5. WEGMANS-BRAND PRODUCTS: Like Trader Joe’s and Costco, Wegmans has its own in-house brand of products that shoppers cannot seem to get enough of.
A lot of the products from the Wegmans brand seem similar to name-brand products.
In general, the prices are either the same or cheaper as their name-brand counterparts.
The Wegmans brand is often praised for its quality, and we were shocked by how many items were available under the label.
To be sure, Wegmans does have a lot of name-brand products as well.
But the Wegmans products certainly stand out among the rest of the items in the store, both for their price and their branding that projects an air of quality.
6. FOOD COURT: Wegmans has a massive selection of hot food and takeout, with stations for Asian and Mediterranean food as well as a pizza counter, burger bar, and bakery.
The smorgasbord of takeout food is overwhelming in the best way and seems to offer something for everyone.
In addition to the counters holding piles of fresh food, there are also different stations that shoppers can pick and choose from. We found everything from a cold salad bar …
… to a protein counter with different meats …
… to a huge sushi counter, which looked and smelled particularly superb. Irene got herself a roll here and said it was excellent.
The hot-food section at Wegmans is probably one of the best parts of the store. Plus, upstairs there was an entire sitting area for people to eat their food away from the general shopping area, which was a great touch. We even found a bar in this location, which is open during specific hours.
7. IN-STORE EXPERIENCE: Overall, it’s hard to define what makes Wegmans so loveable. A lot of it stems from the little details that enhance the store experience. From being able to watch an employee slice Parmigiano-Reggiano right before your eyes …
… to finding a cake with the Wegmans logo imprinted on the top, these are the details that make the grocery store stand out.
Though Wegmans is just a store, the grocer excels at bringing food shopping to life. In some cases, shoppers get to see how their food gets from the ocean …
… to being almost ready to eat.
Interactive stations like this free sample table also make the shopping experience more personal.
This candy section that lets customers fill their own bags of sweets is a small yet meaningful addition that makes Wegmans stand out from other grocers.
After shopping at Wegmans, it was clear what prompted 25,000 people to swarm the grocer’s opening day. Though we wouldn’t label ourselves “Wegmaniacs” just yet, we will certainly be back to shop at Wegmans some more in the future.
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