Seeking a fun, affordable and culinary-inspired shopping experience? Look no further than your local grocery store! That’s right - the new Midlothian Wegmans at 12501 Stone Village Way, opens its doors to the public at 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 22. Store Manager Jerry Shelly and Executive Chef Craig Haines will lead 550 friendly, helpful employees and culinarians - all prepared to help customers make great meals that are easy, healthy and affordable.
Recently named “America’s Favorite Supermarket” in a 2016 Market Force study of more than 10,000 consumers nationwide, Wegmans is a 100-year-old family-owned company widely recognized for fresh, high-quality products, great tasting prepared foods, consistent low prices and incredible customer service.
It appears that Richmond-area shoppers are anxious for the new store to open. According to Wegmans, nearly 24,000 customers have gone on-line already to sign up in advance for a Wegmans Shoppers Club card.
The new 115,000 square-foot supermarket features The Pub by Wegmans, a popular full-service family restaurant located within the store. There’s also fresh produce, bakery, cheese shop, deli and charcuterie, meat and seafood, a wine and beer shop, and all the traditional grocery, dairy and frozen food offerings. The store’s Market Café, with seating for more than 250 people, includes a coffee shop, pizza, subs, fresh sushi prepared on-site, and a variety of self-serve food bars. There are more than 60,000 product choices throughout the store; more than 3,000 are organic. Wegmans offers conventional sizes and also offers family-pack as a way to save on the products families buy most…and there’s a mobile app that helps shoppers to plan meals and build a shopping list that sorts by aisle to save time.
“The excitement of seeing customers walk into the store for the first time, smelling the bread baking and seeing the smiling employee faces ready to greet them, never gets old,” Shelly said. “We know that the customer experience, the product selection and the tools we provide to help shoppers prepare easy, healthy meals are truly unique to Wegmans and we’re excited to share our love of food with the Midlothian community.”
Shelly grew up near Niagara Falls in the town of Niagara, N.Y. After several years working in the restaurant industry, Wegmans hired him as a management trainee in 1989. He started in the produce department at a store in Buffalo, later becoming the department manager and gradually working his way up to perishable area manager. Eventually Shelly became a Wegmans store manager in Pennsylvania, and most recently managed the Malvern store near Philadelphia.
“This is the first time since I became a store manager that I’ve opened a new store for Wegmans, and I’m really excited to bring a new shopping experience to the Richmond area,” he says.
Executive Chef Haines shares his store manager’s enthusiasm for all things Wegmans and a passion for innovative and delicious food, even when he’s not on the clock.
“My home kitchen often turns into a test kitchen,” said Haines. “At Wegmans we want to help our customers love their veggies, so for three months, I prepared only vegetarian meals at home to increase my focus on them.”
He takes his role as a culinary ambassador for Wegmans seriously as he built the team that will be the first to bring the company’s freshest ingredients and restaurant-quality prepared foods to Greater Richmond.
“If someone has a question about preparing a menu selection, our entire culinary team will be available to help,” Haines says. “This is our passion. We’ll demonstrate healthy cooking techniques like how to pan-sear tilapia, roast Brussels sprouts, or make cod al forno so that it comes out perfect every time.”
Midlothian is Wegmans’ 89th store, and the 8th in Virginia. The company’s first Virginia store opened in 2004 in Sterling (Dulles). Today, Wegmans has more than 4,300 employees in the state, with that number continuing to grow as stores open in Short Pump and Charlottesville later this year.
“Our people are the true point of differentiation at Wegmans,” says Shelly. “We’re proud of what we’ve built here and excited to welcome customers into our store – and demonstrate what sets us apart as a new neighbor in the community. Opening day can’t get here fast enough!”