Skip to comments.The Anti-Walmart: The Secret Sauce of Wegmans Is People
Posted on 03/27/2012 5:47:33 AM PDT by seton89
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Cashiers are barred from interacting with customers until they have completed 40 hours of training. Hundreds of staffers are sent on trips around the U.S. and world to become experts in their products. The company has no mandatory retirement age and has never laid off workers. All profits are reinvested in the company or shared with employees. A doomed Internet startup? Occupy Wall Street fantasy? Bankrupt retailer recently purchased by Walmart?
No, a $6.2 billion-a-year, 79-store-supermarket chain with cult-like loyalty among its customers. Wegmans, which operates its 79 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and four other East Coast states, shows that a business can generously train its workforce and profit handsomely.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
Here in the midwest the alternative to Wally World is Meijer stores.
The prices are comparable and they go out of their way to sell local produce when they can.
great store, fantastic selection, always crowded and a bit overpriced and if you don’t pay attention, you will end up spending $50 on “a few things”, just like I do.
Two words: kobe beef
I used to go to the one near Dulles Airport. I wish they would build one up here in southern New Hampshire!
Same here. We came across Wegmans while in Rochester and loved it. The sushi is amazingly good for a carry out section in a grocery store. Yes, it’s expensive but what isn’t in NY state?
some interesting ideas in the article...I like not being publicly traded.
Clearly, a company is not going to be much greater than its people. But maintaining that culture after this generation of owners passes might prove to be a challenge. Difficult to keep employees that are treated well to think about profit, also (unless they understand that no profit = no employee benes). But that is going to be a challenge in obama’s America, and it seems like their stores are focused on pro obama places. So....it will be interesting.
(The Wegman family also are undoubtedly capitalists....yet I’d wager anything that they strongly supported obama....)
There is one in Northboro Massachusetts, thirty miles away from me in CT and we still go there once a month or so.
It’s stocked like Whole Foods, priced like Stop and Shop and the staff is pretty good. The in-store ready to eat food is so/so but otherwise the place is great.
My 90 year old grandfather has been shopping at the Wegmans in DeWitt,NY for over 30 years . He loves the place and is on a mutual first name basis with pretty much the entire staff.
My father shops at Wegmans in Canandaigua and Loves it. He states that every once in awhile, a company big wig will bag groceries for a shift to get REAL customer face to face time.
In Texas we have HEB which, in my opinion, is quite similar to Wegmans.
Just moved out of Wegmans territory about 6 months ago (NY) and have to say that it’s one of the few things I miss. Publix here in FL is a great store but it still lacks that magical element that Wegmans had. Truly the best grocery store in the country.
The Wegmans have made significant contributions to Catholic education.
I love Wegmans; I’m there sometimes two or three times a day.
Best service I’ve ever had grocery shopping, and great selection.
They go out of their way to be helpful and friendly.
I can not say enough good things about them.
They deserve the praise.
——They go out of their way to be helpful and friendly.——
I haven’t been to Wegman’s often enough to notice, but I’m guessing that it’s like Trader Joe’s.
If it’s not profit-sharing, it must be a cult.
Is there a downside to profit.-sharing in retail? It must be hard to stay motivated, otherwise.
All the incentives favor smirking.
I’ve been to the Wegmans in DeWitt, NY several times.
But to call it the “anti-Walmart” is idiotic. Walmart is considerably cheaper, and the people are just as nice.
According to the FEC their donations are over 80% to Dems.
Shame, but it gets them good press like this keeping prices down.
A huge Wegmans is being built here in Columbia, MD. It looks like a multi-level parking lot is being built, as well. That makes sense, because they are wedging the building between a busy expressway and a set of multi-story office buildings.
I’ll have to check it out after it opens in a few months.
Sounds a little like HEB. HEB got on my bad side over their lobby supporting sanctuary cities and against voter ID. We have 800,000 non-citizen voters according to one report.
On the other hand HEB has things like a mobile disaster kitchen. An all stainless tractor trailer kitchen reported to have cost nearly $3mm that can produce 1500 meals at a time. They brought it to the Texas fires last summer complete with a line of trucks that looked like a military convoy. People were just about worn slap out and this was one of the many acts that renewed hope. No FEDS, just people saved the day.
Only from what I have heard or read, Wegmans is very good to their people and that sure is a plus.
However, we were in one of their stores in Western NY just this last Saturday and it was a very aggravating shopping experience.
Given the size of the shopping carts and narrow aisles (some deliberately set at multiple angles with intersecting flows of traffic, there were numerous places where 2 carts simply could not pass. Without exaggeration, envision yourself with a shopping cart going against the flow of people leaving a NFL game.
Items you would expect to purchase on almost every trip were of course located at the farthest most point in the store.
Items which would logically be located in the same or nearby location were split up so more time was required to be spent in the store which of course is the game most grocery stores play.
Prices??? Nothing to write home about.
More than likely I would not return as if I want department store items I’ll go to a department store and if I want grocery items I’ll go to Tops and get $.10/gallon off gas for every $100 purchased along with the normal Bonus Card discount and most importantly not have to play bumper cars with the shopping carts.
Only trouble is they let people who drive Camrys and Buicks drive carts on Saturday Afternoon.....This is the origin of my “I Hate People” song (to the tune of “I Feel Pretty!”)
I sure miss Meijers and I love shopping there when I have a chance to go home.
I may be wrong but I think they had the "superstore" concept in place before Wally World. As a child I remember going to the toy and sporting goods section while my mom shopped for groceries and my father shopped the hardware area.
Here in NE Ohio we have Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle OR Giant Eagle. Closest Wegman’s is in Erie, PA. Wish they would open a store a few miles west in Ohio.
The Wal Marts in metro NYC and South Florida are rather surly in terms of service. Trader Joes’s and Wegman’s provide quite a nice contrast.
Seems like Meijer’s in Jackson Michigan was once the world’s largest single store of its type when it was built in the late 60s or early 70s.
There are two of them in Jackson today.
Amen, I love Meijer’s, best produce.
Trader Joes is a good place to shop, but you can fit several of them into one Wegman’s store. I visit Wegmans in State College PA when I visit my college student daughter.
At first, I thought this was the sequel to Soylant Green.
additionally - the prices are high end ......profits are not shared with employees.....high end walmart of the east
Wow! That is great to know. Details? Maybe they could be something like Tom Monaghans (sp?)...the former Domino’s guy who has funded so many good Catholic causes and educational efforts.
the co is ruthless to vendors”
You know, I was about to post a thought, really an assumption or speculation and it was this: probably better to work FOR Wegman’s rather than WITH them...and I was about to speculate that they are probably ruthless with suppliers.
Not that I have a problem with that. To get profit, you have to squeeze somewhere. Vendors are capitalists also and they can go elsewhere, too. But that was my thought: lavish foreign trips on the cheese counter folks, but I’ll bet the cheese wholesalers aren’t enjoying any of those perks. (Which makes them not so unlike Wal Mart if you think about it.....)
Will it work longterm? I don’t know. Maybe maybe not. But always interesting to see and consider. So long as they remain profitable, I wish them well!
I’m surprised the article didn’t mention anything about Alec Baldwin. His mother famously refuses to move from Syracuse to Hollywood because she doesn’t want to give up Wegmans, and Alec volunteered to do TV commercials for the store. After his airlines antics last December, Wegmans pulled the ads because some customers complained that he was not an appropriate representative. When lots more customers complained about that decision, Wegmans put him back on the air.
Born and raised in Rochester, and Wegman’s was the grocery store to go to even back then. They’ve only improved over the years. The closest store to me is about 45 minutes west of here in Fayetteville, NY. I’ll take a ride out there every so often, then stop at the Red Robin for a bite. Although they’ve expanded to different states, they’ve never opened any stores east of Syracuse. I’ve never been able to understand that.
I agree. We have a small grocery here in town. Then a superstore was built down the road. The superstore, under the banner of health is pushing bad food choices. The little market has great meat and I can shop the perimeter, where most healthy food is, in 10 miniutes. One small cartful and there is senior pricing twice a week.
Their individual items are a few cents more, but I save lot of time and money by staying out of the maxi-stores.
Since I moved out of Buffalo, Wegman’s is one of the only things I miss. There’s one over in Jamestown about 45 mins. away, so now when I go there it’s a real treat. Not sure if it’s still true, but for years, Wegman’s was also the most profitable grocery chain in the country.
[ The Secret Sauce of Wegmans ...
Another Wegmans “secret” that’s just starting to get reported:
They have at least one cashier who’s Muslim who refuses to handle any pork products or alcohol.
She has a sign posted ar her register asking you to respect her religious views and asks you to move to another line if you’re buying any of these items.
I wonder if they’ve accommodated any other cashiers for religious reasons such as those who find contraception products offensive? ]
So if you get a Raw Vegan cashier you won’t be able to buy and meat/eggs/pasta/milk/etc.....
They've expanded to the entire state of Pennsylvania except Pittsburgh, headquarters of Giant Eagle. I don't know what it is they fear about GE but there are very few markets where they overlap.
Of course, Tops tried to attack GE in the Cleveland market and ended up selling off all their Ohio stores.
A Wegman’s recently opened up about 30 minutes from me.I’ve yet to pay a visit but I *am* tempted.I’m trying to resist the temptation because several doctors have strongly advised me to lose 30 pounds.
Did you know that one just opened up in Northborough,MA? True,it's not just down the street from Nashua/Salem but a little while on 495 and you're there.
I’m about 6-8 miles from the MA line near Sturbridge.
Guess where I buy gas!!
Wegmans has been in my area for over 30 years. There are 2 stores within 20 miles of me. I'm not a huge fan. In my opinion, there is too much "expensive food snobbery", if you get my drift.
Not where I am in South Central PA and nearest Wegmans to me is actually in Hunt Valley MD, right across the street from where I used to work. Pretty much all there is near me are Giant (not Giant Eagle) and Weis and one pitiful Food Lion thats just down right scary. I work in small town in Lancaster County and the Weis nearby actually has special parking spaces for buggies.
I miss the Wegmans. Its not a store I shopped at all the time but I loved their salad and hot foods bars. Great place to stop and get lunch or even meet for dinner with a friend after work as the Hunt Valley store had a very nice upstairs dining area.
Wegmans prices for regular groceries are not too bad but they get you with all the really cool stuff like the massive cheese department and the prepared foods and the specialty meats and seafood.
Why? I actually loved Danny Wegman's statement on ground beef. It is 100% correct and refreshingly honest - there is nothing wrong with Lean Finely Textured Beef, aka "pink slime," until some stupid social media brouhaha developed in the last 30 days. Here's his statement, emphasis mine:
Weve made a decision to stop selling ground beef that contains Lean Finely Textured Beef. Having grown up in the meat business, we have always been proud of our ground beef and eat it ourselves. Because of the sensationalism of this issue it has become a concern for our customers. Every decision we make is with our customers in mind. Our commitment remains the same. We will continue to source the best quality ground beef, now without lean finely textured beef.
exactly - and its also interesting to see that in blue collar areas the customer is required to scale up their own produce and print a price sticker - in affluent areas it doesnt happen......
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