Wegmans Pivots Again on Store Openings

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Wegmans Pivots Again on Store Openings

By Gina Acosta - 07/17/2020
Wegmans Pivots Again on Store Openings
The last time a Wegmans store opening generated massive crowds was its opening in Brooklyn, N.Y., which features huge dining areas.

Wegmans Food Markets seems to be altering its store-opening strategy yet again.

On July 15 the Rochester, New York-based retailer announced an opening date for its new West Cary, North Carolina, store on Twitter. The announcement comes just a month after the company said it would no longer reveal a specific opening date for each of its new stores, presumably in an effort to lessen the size of grand-opening crowds amid the pandemic.

“We couldn’t wait any longer. We’re excited to announce that our new West Cary, NC, store will be opening on July 29 at 9 a.m.!” the company announced on Twitter.

Wegmans spokesperson Deana Percassi told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on Friday that "given the number of employees, contractors and vendors involved in a grand opening, we knew the date would likely become public, regardless. In addition, we received an overwhelming number of requests from our North Carolina customers asking us to share a date, so we rethought how we could do that, given that safety will absolutely come first.” 

Attendance at Wegmans' opening days can be quite large: For instance, more than 25,000 people -- or Wegmaniacs, as the chain's biggest fans are known -- showed up to the grand opening of Wegmans' 101st store in Brooklyn, New York, in October. 

Wegmans has been celebrated for its efforts amid the pandemic since March.

In April the retailer said it would donate $4 million to its partner food banks. The retailer increased its employee pay by $2 an hour during the months of March and April. Additionally, the company is strongly encouraging customers to wear masks while shopping its stores.

"Short of refusing entrance to our stores, we are doing everything we can to educate our customers of the mandate, and stress the importance of voluntary compliance to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. We have put a number of social- distancing measures in place throughout our stores; however, we continue to follow the guidance of the CDC, which recommends people wear a face covering when out in public to help slow the spread of the virus," the company said.

In April, Wegmans, which is renowned for its innovative foodservice operations, temporarily closed all of its prepared food departments and other self-service foodservice features in-store; the company has not said when it plans to reopen these features.

In June Wegmans, which is renown for its dine-in offerings, decided to shutter one of its most innovative foodservice concepts before the COVID-19 crisis: its Pub by Wegmans locations. Wegmans currently has 12 of these Pub restaurants across its footprint.

Family-owned Wegmans operates 101 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The company is No. 36 on PG’s 2020 list of the top grocers in the United States.