Wegmans Exec Plans to Buy Liquor & Wine Business

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here said late last week that v.p. of restaurant operations Nicole Wegman, younger daughter of c.e.o. Danny Wegman, would purchase the assets of Century Liquor & Wines, Inc. Century president Sherwood Deutsch and Danny Wegman said they plan to work together on Wegmans' expanding wine business.

The deal is contingent on the New York State Liquor Authority's approval of Wegman's application for a liquor license, a process that is expected to take a few months. Once Wegmans acquires Century, Deutsch and Century v.p. Michael Misch will become employees of the Northeast regional retailer, and as such will help Wegmans run its wine shops in Virginia, and wine and spirit shops in New Jersey.

"We have learned through our experience in Virginia and New Jersey how important the wine business is to our food business," said Danny Wegman. "There's a lot we can learn from Sherwood and Michael."

Wegmans now operates two wine shops in New Jersey and two in Virginia, with more in the pipeline as the company opens additional Virginia stores.

Century's current location on Ridge Road West in Greece, N.Y. will remain open under its present name, and Deutsch and Misch will assist Nicole Wegman in running the store. The business' 45 employees will continue to work at the current location but will become employees of a corporation to be formed by Nicole Wegman.

"I have worked with Sherwood at our restaurant, Tastings, in training our staff," said Nicole. "People come from around the country to purchase wines from him. Century offers its customers a huge selection of wines and spirits, at low prices, with a dedicated, knowledgeable staff, and it will continue to do so. They enjoy tremendous customer loyalty. We want to learn from their decades of successful experience, so we can be world-class in this area."

"Nothing will change at Century. It will only get better," added Deutsch. "Our goal now is to help Wegmans take its wine and spirits business to a whole new level."

Family-owned Wegmans operates 71 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.

In other Wegmans news, the retailer topped the list of Consumer Reports' 54 American chains that sell groceries. The rankings included convention supermarkets, warehouse clubs, limited-assortment stores, and gourmet markets. The magazine, which goes on sale in stores today, polled 24,000 readers and amassed 38,000 reports from April 2004 to June 2005.

"Wegmans is very pleased to be included on this list and, obviously, we are thrilled with the results of the poll," Danny Wegman told the Syracuse, N.Y. Post-Standard. "Our employees take our motto very seriously: 'Every day you get our best.' It's gratifying to know our customers recognize the hard work of all our employees."
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