In a remarkable move, a brand-new Wegman’s supermarket is set to open its doors on October 18th at Astor Place in Greenwich Village, marking an unusual convenience for Manhattan residents. However, calling this new establishment a typical supermarket might not do it justice. Yes, it’s spacious, boasting 90,000 square feet over two levels, but only about 13% of the space (11,600 square feet) is dedicated to traditional grocery aisle shopping (items like groceries, dairy, and frozen goods). Most of this innovative store resembles a high-end food hall, like what you’d find in London’s Harrod’s or Eataly. It offers a diverse range of products with various stations where workers prepare cuisines from around the world. By embracing this new concept, Wegmans is making Periphery products (fresh products and prepared foods like bakery, meat, and fish) the primary focus of the store. They’ve incorporated a food hall model that emphasizes high-quality service and convenience, particularly suited for urban, densely populated, higher-income neighborhoods. These are areas where residents often have small kitchens unsuited for extensive cooking. This strategy enables Wegmans to effectively compete with industry giants like Kroger. While this specific strategy may not be a universal solution, it is well-suited for areas with high household incomes and a significant presence of younger, single-person households who tend to favor dining out over cooking at home.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., operates 106 stores and has a notable presence in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. The family-owned supermarket chain, renowned for its pioneering role in the industry, marked its centennial celebration in 2016.