Please Build a Wegmans Near Me!
Phone calls, emails, social media messages, these are just a few of the channels people use to ask for a Wegmans store in their town. Whether they come from veteran customers who have moved to an area without a Wegmans or first-time visitors that happened upon one of our locations, the requests come from people throughout the country and across the world. Each year, we receive over 7,500 communications with suggestions for new store sites. The most requested site? Florida, with 287 requests so far this year.
“Wegmans, who do I have to contact to get you to open a location in Central Florida? I love you, but this long-distance relationship isn’t working out,” wrote one customer.
With all these customer requests for a store in their hometown, how do we decide where to open a new store? “We serve customers in the area that immediately surrounds our stores, but we are also a destination,” said Ralph Uttaro, senior vice president of real estate and development. “Therefore, we look for great regional locations that are easy to find and easy to get to. We also examine density of population and demographics surrounding the site.”
Distance is, in fact, a major consideration. With distribution hubs in New York and Pennsylvania and one in the planning stages in Virginia, we can service potential stores in most of the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Distributing product to Florida, however, would be cost-prohibitive at the present time.
We also take the size of a potential site into consideration. Our traditional suburban stores are large, between 80,000 and 120,000 square feet, requiring 15 to 20 acres of land to accommodate our store and also have space for adequate parking.
In recent years, we have begun to locate stores in less traditional sites to allow us to serve more densely populated urban and inner-ring suburban environments. In 2014, we opened one of our first urban-style locations in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. At 80,000 square feet, the store was one of the smallest we’d opened in decades, but the model proved successful and we went on to open stores in Brooklyn, New York, in 2019, and in Tysons Corner, Virginia, in 2020. All three sites are located in mixed-use developments with multi-level parking garages.
Unlike other retail chains, we open only 2 to 3 new stores a year. “This gives us plenty of time to design the store, finish construction, and hire and train our people,” said Uttaro.
In 2022, three new Wegmans locations are set to open:
Opening in the spring, the Carlyle-Alexandria, Virginia store will be 81,300 square feet, the smallest of the three locations opening next year. The unique design includes two levels of parking below and residential units above. The store will be part of Carlyle Crossing, a 1.7 million square foot development including commercial, residential, and retail facilities just steps from the Eisenhower Ave. Metro stop.
Wegmans Wisconsin Ave. marks our first location in the city of Washington, D.C. Scheduled for a summer 2022 opening, the store is located at the former site of Fannie Mae’s headquarters, a large mixed-use development called City Ridge. To make way for our 84,000 square foot store and three levels of underground parking, the existing historic building was jacked up by millimeters so new columns could be put in place before it was set on a new foundation. “The developer, Roadside Development, was required to preserve the historic nature of this building and therefore had to be very creative,” said Uttaro. “We’re very happy with the way everything is coming together and we’re looking forward to opening our doors next summer.”
The final opening of 2022 will occur next fall in Wilmington, Delaware. Following our more traditional suburban design, this location will be about 84,000 square feet. The store is our first in the state of Delaware, located just outside the city of Wilmington. It will be the anchor in a mixed-use development with other retail stores, offices, townhomes, and apartments.
“The store development process is lengthy, but rewarding, from identifying the best location to opening day,” said Uttaro. “It’s a great feeling to bring the Wegmans experience to a whole new community of customers.”
Interested in working at one of our new stores? Visit our website at https://jobs.wegmans.com/ to view available positions and apply.