Wegmans: A Benevolent Dictatorship?

The time has come to talk about Wegmans. As we made our way to the Jersey shore two weeks ago we needed to stock up on supplies for the week. Conveniently Wegmans, although not yet having opened a store in Philadelphia proper, has taken to surrounding the city with 4 stores in the distant suburbs. Including this one in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Not knowing when I would have the opportunity to visit the many bounties (that anyone who has spent a significant portion of their life in upstate New York is well aware of) contained within a Wegmans again, I had my dad take a picture. My question is how does Danny Wegman do it? In its recent expansion out of upstate New York to the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region Wegmans has basically recreated its famous flagship store in Pittsford, NY at each new location. That means combining the organic and cheese selections you'd expect at a Whole Foods with locally grown produce, low prices, kitchen wares, good bread, a store full of more than adequate Wegmans brand goodies (Dr. W? Triple Fruit jellies? Yes please) all of which come with a little note from Danny himself, along with a larger inventory of conventional goods than you'd find at almost any other grocery store.

Once you get up into Wegmans historic powerbase though, roughly the Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse metropolitan areas, Wegmans loses some of it grandiosity in favor of a more omnipresent, and perhaps omnipotent, approach. Here, going to the supermarket is the same as going to Wegmans as anything else would be illogical, if not impossible given the near monopoly of the W here.

So, how can Wegmans manage to be both neighborhood grocery store and gourmet super center, all while consistently holding a spot near the top of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For, being rated one of the World's Most Ethical Companies, and getting all of their customers to love them. More importantly why can't anyone else do this?

1 comment:

Alex said...

I think Wegmans and Harris Teeter are on the brink of an epic clash for dominance in the mid-atlantic grocery market.