2006: Robert B. Wegman dies. Wegman was the son of
Wegmans Food Markets co-founder Walter Wegman and was
a pioneer of the one-stop shopping concept.
2007: The Wegmans Organic Farm in Canandaigua, N. Y.
has its first growing season.
2008: Wegmans announces the decision to stop selling
cigarettes and tobacco products, and introduces a smoking
cessation program for employees.
J.D. Power and Associates ranks the Wegmans Pharmacy
No. 1 in Customer Satisfaction among supermarket
pharmacies in the Northeast.
2009: Wegmans’ Culinary Innovation Center opens to
develop new products for customers.
Wegmans opens a new store in Collegeville, Pa. It’s the
first store to introduce a full-service restaurant inside the
Market Café, called The Pub.
2011: The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announces the
Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
Wegmans opens its first New England store in
2013: The Wegmans Pharmacy begins free home shipping.
2014: Wegmans opens the Cheese Caves, a one-of-a-kind,
high-tech building that mimics the environments of famed
cheese caves in Europe.
2015: Wegmans is ranked No. 1 for corporate reputation
among the 100 most visible companies, according to the
16th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ) study.
Wegmans announces plans for a store at Admirals Row
in Brooklyn, N. Y.
the Cary/Apex area.
However, many believe that Wegmans
retail style, as well as its strong bond with
employees and local communities will eliminate any obstacles to its growth in this and
other marketing areas.
The question many are now asking is
where Wegmans might go next. A number of
cities in North Carolina would be attractive
growth areas and could prompt the chain to
open another distribution center to handle
expansion in the Southeast.
Meanwhile, Florida consumers who know
the Wegmans name are inundating social
media sites with “We Want Wegmans”
posts, lobbying the retailer to consider the
Sunshine State. Observers say the chain
does not want to compete head-to-head with
Publix in that area.
However, in the past, Danny Wegman has
stated that the chain did not want to expand
further south than Maryland and Virginia
and would remain focused on the Northeast.
Observers say: “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
managing director, Strategic Resource Group
Goliath success story of the retail, restaurant and wine industries; fighting competitors against
sometimes overwhelming odds and emerging victorious. Yet some in the industry fail to give the
Wegman family credit for building an Eastern powerhouse in economically challenged markets
against some formidable competitors.
Wegmans wins out not only because it has the best stores, but also the best people and for
being the price leader that raises the standard of living for people in all the communities it serves.
This includes leading the industry is college scholarships for employees, which has been a very
important factor in increased loyalty and productivity.
The chain is a transformational economic engine that has helped stabilize and save a
number of upstate New York areas. By developing its own stores and supporting manufacturers, Wegmans has helped create more than 100,000 jobs. This helped save its home city of
Rochester, N. Y. when its three largest corporate employers—Xerox, Bausch & Lomb and Eastman
Kodak—were either contracting operations or collapsing into bankruptcy.
It has a geometrically higher degree of difficulty due to its locations in economically shrinking
states compared with food retailers that are expanding in the fastest growing Sunbelt and high
tech states. Unlike many other third-generation grocers, Wegmans typically invested four to five
percent of annual sales in CapEx to accelerate profitable sales growth, continually developing
some of the most innovative stores to succeed in even the most difficult areas of New York State.
This has made Wegmans a clear No. 1 in its New York State markets with a 35 percent
share. As it moves to its first $10 billion in corporate sales, it is also building meaningful market
shares in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and New England.
These same factors that gave Wegmans exceptional growth in “rust belt” regions will be the
key to the chain’s future throughout the Northeast and into North Carolina against some well-capitalized, highly capable competitors.
To understand the depth of Wegmans success, simply look at the chain’s evolution in its first
50 years. Wegmans carved out a meaningful niche in the Rochester/Monroe County area, but
was unable to achieve significant size and scale in the region.
On its 60th anniversary, the chain faced a transitory corporate crisis. In fact, it was reportedly
was under pressure to make payroll as a result of unprecedented below-cost price wars, including triple couponing by 51 high volume Tops stores. At the time, Wegmans had only 31 stores
with a less than five percent share of the west central New York state market. But Bob and Danny
Wegman matched every major competitors’ price. After the price wars, nine of Wegmans 17 key
competitors went on to file for bankruptcy or liquidation and three others exited the market.
By its 80th anniversary, Wegmans was No. 1 in the market.
Colleen, Danny, Nicole and Bobby Wegman continue to provide exceptional leadership for
the chain as it starts its second century and continues its legacy as one of the most successful
multi-region retailers in the U.S.