Wegmans: Food You Can Feel Good About
Wegmans, a high-end grocery chain based in Rochester, New York, is set to break ground on a new Massachusetts store on October 16th. The family owned grocery chain opened its doors in 1916 and today boasts 78 stores in 5 states and employs over 40,000 people. The new 135,000 square-foot store, located in Northwest Park in Burlington, will include a café, prepared food section, liquor, and Wegman’s typical produce selection. The store has signed a 30 year lease on the land with an option to renew and will employ approximately 600 people, 150 full time employees and 450 part time workers (Boston Business Journal).
Wegmans is rapidly increasing its presence in the Bay State. Last year, it opened its first store in Northborough and has another 70,000 square-foot location under construction at the Chestnut Hill Square development. This is good news for employment in Massachusetts as Wegmans is consistently rated one of the best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine.
In recent years Massachusetts has seen an increase in the presence of high-end food providers. Most notably, Whole Foods Market is increasing its Massachusetts presence by approximately 30% this year. The market for high-end food can be attributed to a change in consumer preferences, primarily the demand for organic/healthy food options.
However, the recent trends in high-end supermarkets suggest that consumers are looking for more than just a healthier option. Consumer analysts suggest that shopping at stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods is a “lifestyle”. For example, in January 2008 Wegmans announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products and would even offer employees benefits to quit smoking. Wegmans has taken healthy initiatives, like banning the sale of tobacco, to promote its brand as a beacon of healthy living.