In the meantime, we're re-posting an LG Report profile of Wegmans, a grocery store chain in the Mid-Atlantic States. At the time this was originally posted in January of 2010, when The LG Report was averaging about 30 visitors daily, this post garnered 155 hits in a single day. The Cult of Wegmans packs 'em in....
A brilliant, shining beacon, brighter in the grocery universe than even the sun,
Wegmans wipes up its lame competitors like an annoying spill in Aisle One.
Its produce farm fresh and crisp; Wegmans sells the tastiest deli,
The competition’s food is old...hard...and even a tad smelly.
“I can fix the economy,” said the Prez, “I will mend ‘er,”
His smart move: making Wegmans coupons U.S. legal tender.
And so now I solemnly pledge, ashamed just a smidgeon,
That I’ve left the church; Wegmans is my new religion.
LG has heard people say bad things about the Pope and Oprah, but he's never heard anyone say anything bad about Wegmans.
And he's never seen Sinead O'Connor rip up a picture of a Wegmans store on Saturday Night Live.
This is a bit over the top, LG knows, but the Cult of Wegmans has a chokehold on the Mid-Atlantic region and it's time to discuss this phenomenon openly. Specifically, LG is talking about the five states boasting Wegmans locations: New York (48), Pennsylvania (13), New Jersey (7), Virginia (6) and Maryland (1).
Two Wegmans are planned for Massachusetts, but no construction date has been set. Pity poor Massachusetts, being on the receiving end of a Wegmans tease. And, even more, pity the other 44 Wegmans-less wastelands trying to pass themselves off as U.S. states. They are Third-Worlders as far as the rest of us are concerned.
If you haven't been in a Wegmans, you can't imagine what LG is talking about, but he'll try to pull back the curtain a bit on the Wizard (only this one is real). And he'll supply some pictures.
LG went into a New Jersey Wegmans recently for the sole purpose of getting photos for this post. He had no intention of making any purchases; he wanted nothing. When he emerged an hour later, he wanted for nothing.
Here's the scene in a typical Wegmans produce department:
This pictue doesn't capture the full cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables that dance about. They are so fresh that they seem to grow in their display crates. Most first-timer visitors swirl in circles, wide-eyed, gaping at the extensive selection.
One of the drawbacks of being a small-time blogger, like LG, is that it can be awkward, and raise questions, when you take pictures of people and places in public for no discernible reason.
As LG raised his camera to snap the photo above, an elderly gentleman, a dead ringer for Uncle Junior of "The Sopranos," barked at LG " Whaddaya buying the place?"
Feeling somewhat like he had been busted by the police, LG mumbled that he had to take a picture so that he could send it to a friend. Uncle Junior replied, "Yeah, I do that too..." Then he walked away, convinced, it seemed, that he hadn't stumbled across somebody who was up to no good.
It's difficult to determine where to begin when describing the delight that is Wegmans.
The store has a huge selection, only the best and freshest products, competitive prices, a luxurious interior (as food stores go) and knowledgeable, nice and enthusiastic employees (37,000 of them.) Wegmans was ranked #5 on Fortune Magazine's 2009 list of The 100 Best Companies To Work For and has been featured on the list every year since it began in 1998. In 2005, Wegmans was #1.
Here's what the freezer cases look like:
That's genuine imported French oak surrounding the freezer doors; it once lined the ballroom of the Palace at Versailles.
Ok, LGI made that up, maybe he's getting a bit carried away, but if you're thinking of freezing yourself cryogenically after you die, you couldn't do better than storing your body in a Wegmans freezer. You'd be assured of at least weekly visits from your family -- maybe twice during Super Bowl week. This could be a new product idea for Wegmans.
"Let's go say hello to Uncle Hal kids, he's hanging right next to the 'Tastes Like Delivery' DiGiorno pizzas."
This is a partial picture of the Wegmans prepared food buffet. It puts Las Vegas to shame. And those stairs in the background lead to a five-star cafe. Or maybe Heaven.
Employees of other supermarkets shop here.
Wegmans was founded by the Wegman family in Rochester, NY in 1916 and has been continuously run by a family member. Today, Danny Wegman is CEO and his daughter, Colleen, is the president.
It's one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States according to Forbes Magazine.
Those are some of the cold, hard facts, but, clearly, they don't convey the entire picture.
Wegmans is Babe Ruth hitting a monster homerun with a loaf of piping hot Italian bread,
Wegmans is Michael Jordan slamming down a rim-rattling dunk, with a fresh lettuce head,
Wegmans is Pele faking out two defenders and blasting the winning goal with a tender turkey leg.
By now, LG hopes you get the picture. Wegmans Rocks. Shop there if you ever get the chance. Amen.