By Doris Christelis, Contributing Writer
Northborough – A rose may be a rose, but not at Wegmans. At Northborough's new Wegmans Food Market, which opened Oct. 16, one rose actually came with a 10-foot-long stem. While certainly a sight to behold, it is not surprising. Everything at Wegmans is larger than life. The store itself is 138,000 square feet – almost three acres and bigger than two football fields. Wegmans Director of Media Relations Jo Natale explained what to expect at the store.
“Expect to find everything on your shopping list and more,” Natale said. “Our grocery store offers 70,000 products, while most other stores offer only 40,000. We stock 300 specialty cheeses in our store along with 700 different fruits and vegetables. If you want fresh fish, our Day Boat Station offers fish caught that day.”
The list goes on of surprising and unique grocery offerings.
Wegmans, a family-owned business first founded in 1916 as a fresh produce pushcart, has always been ahead of its time. The Wegman brothers made national headlines when they opened a 20,000-square-foot food store in 1930 that included a cafeteria that seated 300. Today the chain's innovations continue to draw loyal customers. Before even opening in Northborough, over 25,000 people signed up online for Wegmans Shoppers Club Card.
High on the list of customer-friendly initiatives is Wegmans” focus on price. Offering “low consistent pricing” every day, Wegmans shies away from sales and circulars, instead offering competitive pricing similar to what is found at a club store. In keeping with the low price promise, the store's pharmacy even offers five frequently prescribed antibiotics completely free.
Detailed and useful labels are also found throughout the store. For nutrition-conscious customers, Wegmans offers a nutrition key on all of their store brand items alerting consumers not only to ingredients but whether the item is safe for vegans, is gluten-free, or is lactose-free. Most ready-made foods in the not-to-be-missed Market Café provide calorie counts as well as content information.
In the mood for some fried calamari or have a hankering for a hearty pub burger? The Market Café offers restaurant-quality fresh and prepared foods to enjoy in the store's dining areas that seat 300 (offering free WiFi), or take-out to eat at home or the office. One room even has a roaring fireplace while another features a train table and enticing toys sure to attract the younger set. The café includes a dizzying array of foods including a coffee shop, panini station, sub shop, sushi bar, vegetarian bar, wokery, pizza shop, soup station and food bar.
Wine, spirits and beer are also available in the 15,000-square-foot space devoted to over 600 varieties of domestic and imported beers, $6 wine selections, and a “Craft Your Own Pack” feature that allows customers to fill a six-pack with any six beers from a wide selection.
Shopping is easy with wide aisles and over 30 cashiers, ready to open their register if there are more than two people already in any line.
Wegmans is also well known for its extensive community outreach efforts. These include offering customers a selection of produce from area farms such as Carlson Apples, Confrida Farms and Sid Wainer & Sons, and supporting regional food banks. In Northborough, the store has been a boon to the economy, offering jobs to 600 locals.
Wegmans has established itself nationally as a customer-friendly supermarket chain that cares about the well-being of its workers, too. Forbes Magazine put Wegmans at the top of the list of the best companies in the United States to work for based on size, and at number three overall. In fact, Wegmans has been on this Fortune list since the Best Companies to Work For list launched in 1998.
Wegmans Food Market is now open from 6 a.m. to midnight every day, and is located at Northborough Crossing next to T.J. Maxx at 9102 Shops Way.