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EXCLUSIVE: Wegmans Opens Pandemic-Proof Store in North Carolina

Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
The new Wegmans in West Cary, North Carolina, features two curbside pickup destinations: one for grocery, the other for foodservice.

Wegmans Food Markets gave a master class on Wednesday in West Cary, N.C., in how to delight shoppers even in the middle of a pandemic.

Hundreds of Wegmans employees wearing customized face masks greeted hundreds of shoppers (also wearing masks) lined up at 9 a.m. as Pharrell Williams's "Happy" blasted through the loudspeakers inside and outside the store.

The retailer set up a live feed of the store entrance so that shoppers who might be anxious about attending a grand opening amid a pandemic could check out the lines or crowds before heading to the store.

Inside the 103,000 square foot store, the aroma of fresh peach crostata permeated the air as shoppers ogled expansive cases of pastry, dry aged beef, seafood and artisan breads. 

Other shoppers eyed stacks of sugar kiss melons and fresh corn in the produce department, where samples, usually a feature of the Wegmans produce experience, were not available.

Still other shoppers made use of other, more practical displays: hand sanitizer stations, signing about how to social distance and floor markings telling shoppers how to stand in line spaced apart at the deli.

The West Cary store, which is Wegmans' southernmost location and its second store in North Carolina, is located in a strip center less than 2 miles from a Publix, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and Walmart, among other grocers.

Key highlights of the new store include:

  • Expanded Meals2Go foodservice department
  • Two curbside pickup lanes, one for grocery and one for foodservice
  • A build-your-own-poke-bowl station
  • Wegmans Scan available at checkout
  • Expanded catering department
  • Signing indicating that shoppers should use hand sanitizer before entering the store
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