What Makes Your Wegmans Unique?

When Wegmans was founded in 1916, brothers Walter and John Wegman made national headlines for opening a 20,000 square foot store, which was considered enormous at the time. Over the last 100 plus years, our stores have changed considerably, adding new departments, features, and the latest technology. Today, we operate 110 stores scattered across the East Coast, but no two Wegmans stores are exactly the same. Depending on their location and the timeframe in which they were built, our stores have a variety of unique features that help differentiate them from one another.

Our Fairport Road store in East Rochester, New York.

A Peek into the Past
Many of the oldest Wegmans stores still in operation are in our company’s hometown of Rochester, New York. Over time, these stores have been expanded, remodeled, or relocated to nearby parcels of land to accommodate a larger footprint. Visitors to the area are often encouraged to stop by our flagship store in Pittsford, but history lovers will enjoy a step back in time at our Fairport Road store in East Rochester. Originally opened in 1958, the store was remodeled in 1973, and is our smallest location at just under 53,000 square feet. Customers love the vintage Wegmans logo on the front of the building and the unique design of its angular roof. Inside, you’ll enjoy an easy to navigate layout with some nods to the past, as well as many amenities our customers have come to know and love.

The Village Concept
In the late 1990s, our store design team debuted the “village concept” at our newly remodeled store in Pittsford. The idea behind the village concept was to model our stores after an outdoor market in a village square, where customers could visit different vendors all in one area. Most evident on the perishable side of the store, departments were broken up into different vignettes, each with its own façade and character.

“We had many different windows styles, paint colors, and wall coverings. The only thing that was unified across departments was the awning underneath,” said Mark Bidleman, new store design manager. “It was meant to give you the feeling of a charming village main street that grew over time and not necessarily all built as one designed development. It’s a place in our minds where people go to meet friends to socialize and shop.”

With this design came the addition of our iconic clock towers, which have been included in our store designs for over twenty years now. The clock tower helped to bring the village concept to the outside of the store, so customers had a preview of what they would experience when they entered. Today, the clock tower serves as a beacon or calling card that people identify with Wegmans.

In recent years, our store designs have changed, and now reflect a more unified presence, but parts of the village concept remain.

“We’ve started to shift to more cohesive wall coverings and paints, with a toned-down color scheme,” said Mark. “Our newest stores have a lot of creams, yellows, and bronze tones. The only place you see more of the accent is in the café finishes as well as our signage and graphics, where we tend to make things pop a bit more.”

The iconic Wegmans clock tower, the patio at our Germantown, Maryland store, and the mezzanine at our Warrington, Pennsylvania store.

Meal with a View
Prominently featured in many of our stores, our market cafes provide a comfortable place for customers to enjoy our restaurant-quality prepared foods. Many of our largest locations house spacious cafes with seating for hundreds of people, including outdoor spaces.

Our King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, store features an outdoor fireplace, wooden pergola, decorative railings, and attractive landscaping. In Canandaigua, N.Y., the covered patio overlooks a small pond with seating options for small or large groups, and the Potomac, Virginia, location offers alfresco dining via a second-floor balcony.

For customers who prefer to eat inside the store, 27 of our stores feature café seating on a mezzanine level. This second story offers shoppers a bird’s eye view of the store, often overlooking the market café but also offering glimpses into bakery, produce, or other departments.

“One way to maximize footprint is to add a mezzanine and move some seating and employee spaces upstairs,” said Dan Aken, vice president of real estate and store planning. “Adding this feature is really dependent upon the total size of the site that we have.”

Some of our stores feature underground or garage parking and include a special cart escalator to assist with bringing groceries between levels.

Reimagining the Parking Lot
Over the past decade, we’ve opened several smaller format stores located in mixed-use developments that include commercial, residential, and retail facilities. These stores serve more densely populated areas and have required us to get creative with parking solutions.

Our Reston, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. locations each have hundreds of parking spots located in a garage directly beneath the store. Stores in Columbia, Maryland, and Burlington, Massachusetts, feature two-story designs, with multi-level parking garages that provide customers direct access to the store on both levels, and our Raleigh, North Carolina, store has parking in a lot at street level, with additional spots available below the lot in an open-air garage.

Customers parking in a garage can access these stores via an escalator, elevator, or stairs. A special cart conveyor system with an adjacent escalator assists with bringing groceries to the parking level. When a parking garage is not directly connected to the store, we often add a covered walkway from the parking area to protect against the elements.

An aerial image of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1945.

Before it was Wegmans
While most of our stores sit on land that was either vacant or previously occupied by another retail business, some locations have a more interesting background. Our Chapel Hill, N.C., store was previously the site of a car dealership in the 1970s and 80s. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, location is on the site of the former Garden State Racetrack, and the Harrisburg, PA, store sits on land that was occupied by a flea market.

In 2019, we opened our first store in New York City, located in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Navy Yard dates back to 1801, when it served as a naval shipbuilding facility. In operation for 165 years, 70,000 people worked at the Navy Yard during World War II, and it was in operation until 1966 when it was sold to the City of New York. Today, our store is just one of the 450 businesses that call the Navy Yard home, sharing the space with manufacturing facilities, offices, fine art studios, restaurants, distilleries, and more.

The Next 100 Years
As we look toward the future, we’ll continue to update our stores, adding new features and modifying designs as needed; however, our focus has shifted to highlighting our people and products.

“We’re not making the store too much of an object in and of itself anymore; instead, we’re putting the emphasis on our products and our employees, letting them be the showpiece,” said Mark. “The store is well designed, well crafted, and elegant, but not trying to be a showpiece in and of itself.”

Some of our stores feature wine departments, 'Casanova' the animatronic rooster, or a model train.

Fast Facts

  • Our smallest store, located on Fairport Road in East Rochester, N.Y., is just under 53,000 square feet.
  • Our largest store, located in Dewitt, N.Y., is nearly 160,000 square feet.
  • 48 stores carry only beer, while an additional 41 locations carry both wine and beer, and seven carry the trifecta of wine, beer, and spirits.
  • 80 stores have model trains featuring Wegmans branded cars. Most train sets are located above the dairy department, but they were originally a fixture in bulk foods.
  • 27 stores have an animatronic rooster, affectionately named ‘Casanova’ after a real rooster that lived at Wegmans Organic Farm. The rooster leaves his barn at the top of every hour to announce the time, and the sun clock illuminates with the current hour hand highlighted.
  • 3.5 million customers walk through our front doors every week.