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On Saturday, January 30, at 11 a.m. in all Wegmans stores:
ROCHESTER, NY – It was 1916 when brothers John and Walter Wegman went into the food business together. A century later, Wegmans Food Markets, the small, family-owned business launched by two brothers will mark its 100th Anniversary.
John (Jack) Wegman first made his living as a produce huckster, buying fresh fruits and vegetables each day from farmers at the Public Market to sell from a pushcart in the streets of Rochester, NY. His brother Walter learned the grocery business working in a store his parents operated from the front of their home, the same home where Walter’s son Robert B. Wegman was born in 1918.
Plenty has changed over the 100-year span that Wegmans has been in business, but the company’s belief about the way to treat people has stayed the same. CEO Danny Wegman, in a letter in the 100th Anniversary issue of Wegmans Menu magazine, puts it this way: “As we reflect on how we got here, we remember a simple rule that my dad taught us: ‘Never think of yourself; always help others.’ ”
Those are the words of Robert Wegman, who in 1937 began to work for his father Walter and Uncle Jack, and then led the company from 1950 until his death in 2006. Those words made all the difference. They led to putting the needs of employees first, and then to generations of employees’ families working at Wegmans. They led to welcoming customers like guests in your own home – offering your best, putting them at ease in a sparkling-clean, beautiful setting. They led to finding new ways to help families make delicious, healthy, affordable meals that everybody loved. They led to decades of partnering with local growers and producers. And, they led to giving back to the community in ways that have had a significant impact.
Those words also led to the deep bond of affection between Wegmans and its customers, who tend to think of Wegmans as family, and often refer to their local store as “my Wegmans.”
The love goes both ways: In his Menu magazine letter, Danny Wegman says “We want to thank you for allowing our family to be part of your family. You’ve welcomed us into your kitchen to help with meals and celebrate life’s special moments. Thank you for choosing us, and for inspiring everyone in our company to always give you our best.”
Remembering and Celebrating on Saturday, January 30, and Beyond
On January 30, in a nod to the important role Robert Wegman played in shaping the company, a new plaque with his portrait, and his guiding principle about helping others, will be placed near the entrance of all Wegmans stores, officially kicking off the 100th anniversary celebration.
On that same day, at 11 a.m. in all Wegmans stores, a Celebration Cake will be served to customers and to employees. Employees will wear a new uniform shirt with the 100th Anniversary logo. The logo, designed by Wegmans’ artists, will also appear on a new Wegmans reusable bag, a reusable coffee mug, and a Wegmans gift card.
Throughout the year, Wegmans will recognize its 100th Anniversary in various ways not yet detailed.
Today, Wegmans is one of the largest family-owned companies in America, with 88 stores in six states and nearly 46,000 employees. Of the many recognitions it has earned, the company is most proud of its inclusion for 18 straight years on Fortune Magazine’s list of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For.’ Third and fourth generation Wegman family members lead Wegmans today: CEO Danny Wegman, his daughter Colleen Wegman, president; and daughter Nicole Wegman, sr. vice president of perishable foods and wine.
Saying Thank You
In closing his letter, Danny Wegman had this to say: “Thank you…for putting your trust in us. We promise to keep striving, to be there for you with everything from the latest culinary innovations to the freshest produce in town – just like we did with our vegetable cart, back in 1916.” And, his final words are ones that are familiar to employees and customers, alike: “Every day you get our best.”
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 88-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 18 consecutive years, ranking #7 in 2015. The company also ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation, among the 100 ‘most-visible companies’ nationwide in the 2014 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient ® study.
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