Wegmans Figuring Out Urban Model

Wegmans is building a 70,000-square-foot store in Newton, Massachusetts. This is drastically smaller than the prototype store, such as the 140,000-square-foot Pittsford Wegmans.

The Boston Globe reports:

“We want to have most of the things we have in all our stores, but can you have a Market Cafe that seats 300 people and serves chef-driven meals and 700 different types of produce?’’ said Jo Natale, director of media relations at Wegmans. “We haven’t quite figured that out yet.’’


The smaller stores that Wegmans and Walmart are building help extend their brands. “If you can have a Wegmans experience in a smaller footprint, people are going to dig that,’’ said Griffin.

The new East Avenue Wegmans can’t really be considered one of the smaller urban stores, at 95,000 square feet. It will be similar to the Calkins Rd. Wegmans, which is 110,000 square feet.

The East Ave. store is the last remaining Wegmans location in the City of Rochester. Wegmans has countered criticism that it abandoned the city by pointing to stores right on the border, including Lyell Ave., Ridge-Culver, and Hudson Ave.

Wouldn’t it be great to see Wegmans figure out an urban model and move back into the city? Perhaps one day downtown can get the critical mass and wealth needed to make this happen.


6 responses to “Wegmans Figuring Out Urban Model

  1. The East Ave Wegmans is “my” Wegmans, and I hate that they are expanding it. With the exception of the limited parking (I have given up Wegmans for the Tops right down Winton Road more than once on a Sunday afternoon, and again just this past Saturday, Christmas Eve, because there simply was no parking available), I love the smaller Wegmans. I don’t go to the grocery store for a dinner out or a museum experience; I go there to buy food for the homestead. It doesn’t have to be glamorous!

    And I agree whole-heartedly that it would be great to see Wegmans figure out an urban model and move back into the city. The corner stores offer canned goods & frozen foods, no real substitutes for the fresh cut meats and fresh fruits & veggies that are available at a true grocery store. Not to mention, the corner store items are too expensive! Convenient access to grocery stores would help with improved nutrition & lower obesity rates among our inner-city youth. Wegmans could totally open up an urban store; they just have to want to!
    PS- Wasn’t there a grocery store at Midtown? Hmmmmm

  2. Here in Wisconsin, local giant Roundy’s, Inc., built a new Pick-N-Save store on the fringe of the inner city. About half of the customers and most of the employees are neighborhood based. The rest of the customers are people to and from work who like the store’s smaller footprint and the ability to get in and out in 5-10 minutes if need be. The store has a pharmarcy, bank and deli and outside in the strip mall there is a full-service branch bank, Subway and fairly good fresh Chinese place. There are also apartments above the other stores with a 50% rent break for law enforcement officers and firefighters. The grocery store is very well-received and the secret to its success is the convenient layout. Wegman’s could do the same. Their stores are huge but I see a lot of wasted space in them. If you travel to some of the western states and see local stores in some of the small towns you get an idea of how you can squeeze a lot of merchandise into smaller spaces.

  3. Wegman’s didn’t leave the city because of real estate. They left the city because Mayor Johnson antagonized Wegman’s CEO Bob Wegman over the proposed site on Elmwood Avenue, by not giving the brat everything he wanted. See, Bob Wegman is hot stuff and if you don’t kowtow to him he threatens to take his business elsewhere.


    Yes, there was a Wegman’s at Midtown. And they didn’t leave because they weren’t making profits. Their profits were just not high enough.

  4. There may be something in the Bill Johnson/Bob Wegman dealings. But the fact is any new location has to make business sense. I’m still not sure Elmwood Ave was right, but a Wegmans in the new UR development at Elmwood and Mt. Hope…..now that could be a winner.

  5. Jim – you mean where Wegman’s used to be but was closed, sold to UofR and turned into a parking lot?

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