Author's Perspective: There's no doubt in my mind that having a full-service grocery store nearby helped me with my meal planning and being able to eat healthy every day. Whenever I conduct a diabetes workshop outside of the Northeast area of the United States, someone inevitably asks me the question: "What is a Wegmans?"
Wegmans is a family-owned 75-store U.S. regional supermarket chain with stores in the mid-Atlantic region, including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.
Wegmans Meets My Mother
When I got out the hospital, my mother made me pack up all of my junk food, including potato chips, pretzels, cookies, candy bars, TV dinners, pizza pies, cakes, pies, soda, etc., and return these foods to the grocery store (Wegmans).
As we walked into the store with my mother, she said: "Wow, this is a pretty big store for a grocery store!" As I struggled to push the 2 carts which were full of my junk food and beverages, a store clerk came up to us and asked" Can I help you?" I said "No, I'm okay - I need to return some food." The clerk just smiled and directed us to the proper area.
As I continued to push the 2 carts to the proper area, another clerk approached us and offered to help me push the carts. Before I could say anything, she grabbed the handle of one of the carts and pushed it to the counter.
After I thanked her, she just smiled and left. My mother turned to me and asked: "Are all the people in this store nice?" I said, "I think so -- whenever I have a question or I can't find something, there's always someone willing to help you. And, they never get mad at you for asking a question. They just smile and direct you to where you need to go. And, in some cases, they'll walk with you to make sure you get to the right aisle."
Returning all this food was quite embarrassing, but what choice did I have? Face my mother? It was easier to face the store clerk.
The young lady behind the counter noticed the 2 shopping carts full of food. But, she wasn't angry. She just smiled and asked: "Can I help you?"
I said sheepishly: "You know I love your food, but I have to return this food because I can't eat this food anymore."
The store clerk just smiled again, and said, "Okay, let's ring this all up." As I removed each package and bottle from the first shopping cart, the clerk asked: "I don't mean to be nosy, but if you love our food, why are you returning it?"
I said: "Because I'm diabetic and I can't eat this food anymore." Then, I whispered: "Plus, do you see the woman behind the second cart with the look of disgust on her face? That's my mother, and she made me pack up all of my favorite foods and return them to you. I didn't want to, but I didn't have any choice."
The store clerk just laughed and said: "Well, mothers know best."
My mother must have heard her, because she smiled and said: "Amen -- thank you, young lady. God bless you."
After the clerk finished ringing up the items from both shopping carts, she used my Wegmans Shopping Card to give me a store credit of almost $250! When she returned the card to me, my mother grabbed it and said:"Thank you, now we're going to do some real grocery-shoppin'."
As we walked around the store, my mother put various foods into the shopping cart: fresh spinach, broccoli, Brussel spouts, Romaine lettuce, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, string beans, carrots, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic. She also got some grapes, apples, pears, lemons; skinless chicken, eggs, milk, and extra virgin olive oil.
I looked at the shopping cart and said: "Who's going to eat this stuff? I don't like most of these foods, especially the Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach."
My mother just gave me this look, and I knew that I had better just shut up and let her get what she wanted.
As we walked around the store, we couldn't find something (I think it was the olive oil). So my mother walked up to one of the clerks and asked him. He just smiled and directed us to the proper aisle. My mother turned to me and said: "Son, you are blessed to live near a store with such nice people. This store is going to help you get well. I can feel it. So, when I return home, I don't want to hear that you can't find any healthy foods -- this store has everything you need to get well. Right?"
I knew that it was best for me to just agree with my mother, so I said, "Yes, Mother ..."
I wasn't happy that my mother did this. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was the start of my journey from being ill and dependent on drugs and medications to becoming well and independent of the drugs and medications.
Because of the store credit, during the next month or so, I didn’t have to pay for any food that I bought from Wegmans. Thanks to my mother and the Wegmans grocery store, it was financially beneficial for me to eat healthy.
So, I must thank Wegmans for their kindness and patience, and for hiring such nice people to help me on my journey to wellness.
Bottom-line: Wegmans helped me reverse my Type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of Shopping at Wegmans
There are many benefits to the consumer who does their grocery shopping at Wegmans. Some of the benefits that I have experienced over the years include:
High Quality Foods: These foods include fresh vegetables and fruits, frozen vegetables, fresh meat and other produce. Wegmans also provides organic foods, free-range dairy and meats, and gluten-free foods.
Author Sidebar: Because of this high quality, it made it easier for me to get my blood sugar under control.
Food Choices: Wegmans provides a wide variety of raw foods as well as prepared foods that taste and smell really good. The various prepared food sections provide fresh foods, dishes, meats, breads, pastries, pizza, snacks, desserts, etc.
Customer Service: Wegmans employs kind people and provides them with the necessary training so that they can better serve the customers.
Author Sidebar: Whenever I needed help, there was always someone who was more than willing to help me. Great people, great service.
One-Stop Shopping: There is a broad range of foods and consumer products so that you can do all of your shopping at one store.
Environment: Wegmans creates a pleasing environment with an open design that's very pleasing and clean.
Location: I live within 5 miles of 2 Wegmans stores (Holt Road and Eastway Plaza), so if I need something, I'm only several minutes away.
Prices: For the most part, Wegmans prices are reasonable, especially if you buy their brand. Also, Wegmans provides a Shopper's Club card that has discounts every once in a while.
Returns: Wegmans makes it very easy to return a food or product. There are no questions or negative attitude. The store clerks are so kind!
Payment Options: Wegmans provides multiple payment options, including cash, check, and credit card. This is very helpful if you forget your checkbook or if you don't have enough cash.
Store Layout: The layout of the store makes it easy to find what you're looking for. Wegmans used to have these computer-like platforms where you could type in what you're looking for and the display would show you the aisle where the item was stored. Not sure why they got rid of these platrforms ...
Personally, Wegmans was (and still is) my primary store for grocery-shopping for 4 major reasons:
- Location: There are 2 stores that were near my job and my home (within 5 miles).
- Employees: They are always so nice and cordial, and helpful.
- Discounts: They give you a shopping card that provides discounts on certain products.
- Healthy Food Choices: Wegmans offers many excellent healthy food choices, including organic, gluten-free, fresh, prepared foods, etc.
Reference: The following information was taken from the Wegmans Website.
Founded in 1916 in Rochester, New York, Wegmans has appeared on Fortune's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list since its inception in 1998, and has ranked among the top 10 for eight consecutive years. Food Network recognized it with its award for Best Grocery Store in 2007, and Consumer Reports ranked it the top large grocery chain in the United States in 2009.
Wegmans is a privately owned company, founded in 1916 by John and Walter Wegman. The original name was the Rochester Fruit and Vegetable Company. Wegmans is headquartered in Gates, NY, a suburb of Rochester.
Danny Wegman is CEO. His daughter, Colleen Wegman is president, and his other daughter, Nicole Wegman, is vice-president of restaurant operations. His father Robert Wegman, who died in 2006, was chairman. Robert was the son of co-founder Walter Wegman.
During his life Robert Wegman distinguished himself as a pioneer in the retail food business, as well as a generous donor to educational institutions and other charities.
In 2009, Wegmans ranked number 29 on the Supermarket News list of the Top 75 North American Food Retailers based on sales volume, up from number 32 on the 2007 Supermarket News list, and 7th among privately held U.S. supermarkets.
In 2009 Stores Magazine showed it to be the 74th largest retailer in the United States with estimated revenues of $4.67 billion. As of 2006, it was the 66th largest privately held company, as determined by Forbes. On Forbes's 2005 list, Wegmans ranked 54th.
Distinctions about Wegmans
Here are some of the distinctions that make Wegmans such a great grocerystore:
- Ranked #4 on FORTUNE magazine’s 2016 list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Wegmans has been on the list every year since it first ran in 1998, and in 2005, ranked #1.
- Ranked #5 on FORBES magazine’s 2016 list of America’s Best Employers.
- Dubbed America’s Favorite Supermarket in 2016 based on a consumer study by Market Force Information.
- Wegmans raises the bar on the shopping experience: the best quality; a spectacular abundance of choice; restaurant-quality prepared foods; beautiful stores and displays; and a nearly telepathic level of customer service.
- In 2015, more than 4,000 people contacted Wegmans asking for a store in their community. Another 7,300 wrote to say how much they like shopping at Wegmans or appreciate the way Wegmans employees treat them.
- Consistent low prices on the items families buy every week. Wegmans also offers the choice of Family Pack size on products throughout the store to save time and money—30% or more compared to regular size.
- Exceptional levels of charitable donations focused on programs that reduce hunger; help young people succeed; promote healthy eating and activity; strengthen neighborhoods; and support United Way initiatives. Last year, Wegmans donated about 13.5 million pounds of food to local food banks and programs that feed the hungry.
- Strong employee benefit programs, including an employee scholarship program that provides $4.5 million in tuition assistance to employees each year. Wegmans has awarded $105 million in scholarships to more than 33,000 employees since this program began in 1984.
Most of Wegmans' newer stores are of the "superstore" or "megamarket" type, with a very large area, a large variety of foods aimed at an upscale market, and in many stores, Market Café in-store dining areas.
The company also used to own and operate Tastings, a restaurant at its Pittsford, New York, store that offered diners three distinct eating areas, making the Pittsford Wegmans largest of all. Tastings is now closed and the Next Door Bar and Grill a stand alone restaurant is open across the street from the Pittsford store. The Fairfax, VA store is the highest-volume store.
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