I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and, since our family is still there, we visit there frequently. The Finger Lakes is a lovely resort area with beautiful, crystal clear lakes, quaint wineries, local crafts and scenic parks. But perhaps the one attraction that has become my favorite as an adult is Wegman's. That's right - a grocery store.
When visiting my family, if anyone has to go grocery shopping, I am more than happy to go with them. Need something from the store? Send me! A trip to Wegman's is better than a trip to an amusement park.
And I am not alone in my love of Wegmans. Alec Baldwin, the actor, would like to move his mother to California. She won't go. Why? No Wegmans. When stars come into the Finger Lakes Region to perform concerts and other shows, where do they want to visit? You always see their tour buses hanging out in the Wegman's parking lot.
So I was not surprised when the chain's debut into the Massachusetts market was greeted with something close to hysteria, including people camping out in the parking lot in order to be the first ones into the store in the morning (they style themselves "Wegmaniacs")!
And the findings from Consumer Reports’ latest survey of supermarket customers puts some real numbers behind the "Wegmans Phenomenon".
According to an article in Mass Market (an online business newsletter for Massachusetts) "The Rochester, N.Y.-based company topped a ranking of more than 50 major supermarket chains. Trader Joe’s, another beloved supermarket brand, followed right behind in the No. 2 spot.
Wegmans received a score of 88, and Trader Joe’s was at 86. (Scores of 100 show complete satisfaction, while 60 means customers were fairly satisfied.) Wegmans received top ratings for all main categories – service, perishables and cleanliness – except price, in which it received the second-highest assessment."
Why are consumers so satisfied with Wegmans? As one Wegmaniac put it, "Shopping at Wegman's is an experience." In addition to a unique shopping experience (including one-third of the space devoted to prepared foods, with another 15,000 sq. ft. for a liquor department, a 300-seat cafe, 70,000 products and some 30 checkout lanes), Wegmans brought relocated 75 Rochester employees to Massachusetts to ensure customers are treated the way Wegmans wants them to be treated. What more could you need?
So kudos to Wegman's. I only have one question: When are you coming to Atlanta?