Sunday, March 21, 2010

Columbia Wegmans May Not Open Until 2012

The Columbia Wegmans isn't scheduled to open until some time in 2012, according to a comment this morning on my prior post that pointed out that Frederick had a projected 2011 date but Columbia still said TBD.

Alison, who has commented for the better part of a year, wrote that she used the "contact us" page of the Wegmans Web site to ask when the Columbia store would open.  This was the response:

Dear Alison: We received your email and we thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Currently, we hope to open the Columbia store some time in 2012. Unfortunately there is much more work involved at this location than at others and the construction period will be significantly longer.
Thanks for your patience! 
Sincerely,
Wegmans Consumer Affairs 
Don't panic people.  The news sent me into a drunken bender drinking only wine purchased at a Virginia Wegmans.  That didn't help.  I'm considering a shovel brigade where HowChow readers could help prepare the site.  We'll get through this together -- and maybe the customer affairs people are just being conservative.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the Columbia Wegmans were not to open for several years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'

(First update:  Smart comment from Veggies below on a theme that I want to figure out.  If you have to wait two years for Wegmans, what other options should people explore.  I haven't been overwhelmed by the produce at the Dutch market, but Veggies is right that it's a real option -- with local produce in season.  What other advice?  I'm going to try to assemble a post.)

Please comment below if you have any other news.  You can join the Facebook group for "I Want The Columbia, Md. Wegmans."  And if you're a Wegmans executive reading this post, please email (or comment below) with whatever timeline and explanation that you can share.

19 comments:

Penny said...

Very bad news. I'm relatively new to the area and though there are many benefits to living in Howard County, one thing I do miss from my old city is a year-round local-farms greenmarket. I have found a somewhat local farm from which you can order meat early in the season. In May, we get a 50 lb variety pack, better (I'm hoping) than what can be found in Giant.

Produce is another story. Giant's produce is often not fresh, and Safeway has long lines and sometimes surly cashiers (no self check-out). Can't wait for those farmer's markets to open!

I don't even know if Wegman's offers local produce or meats, but so long as it has FRESH produce and meats, I'll be thrilled when it gets here.

Veggies! said...

I work at the dutch country market in laurel. Although we cannot offer Pennsylvania grown produce year round, we do have one benefit over the grocery store and that is produce that has not been sitting around for a week. We get a delivery every day we are open (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and everything is selected by my boss. During the late spring, summer, and fall we offer a wide variety of produce that is grown in Pennsylvania and Maryland. I know that howchow has critcized the produce stand before, stating that he could easily buy the same food at the grocery store, but our prices are similar and our product stays fresh much longer than anything you can buy at the grocery store. If not for the produce, come by and check out the organic meats, fresh bread and donuts, or BBQ made in house :)

Anonymous said...

And don't forget to sign up for a Community Supported Ag program if you can make the commitment. Because of all the encouragement from HowChow commenters, I've enrolled in one this year. Am looking forward to my weekly share from a local farm!

Penny said...

Thanks for the suggestions. We tried to join a CSA, but couldn't find one where we could make the time slot (any where you can pick up on Saturdays?).

As for the Dutch Country Market, we'll probably be there very soon (this Saturday). That looks awesome!

Alison said...

Unfortunately, it's not just the produce I was looking for. I love that Wegmans carries all my favorite WNY products, even at the locations outside of New York State. Looks like I'll be driving to Hunt Valley for my Sahlen's hot dogs, Weber's mustard, kimmelweck rolls, Wegmans Just Roast Beef, Bison chip dip, etc., at least until 2012. Tear. ;-)

Julie said...

Allison - you are a woman after my own heart! I too am from WNY and I love the fact that I can get my Sahlen's, kimmelwick rolls and cheese curds outside of WNY. When I was in college I worked at a Wegmans in the Chinese food restaurant. This was before it was strictly a buffet in the food court. We only used meat from the meat department and produce from the produce department. That's where I fell in love with Chinese food!

dzoey said...

There really is no Wegman's equivalent nearby. I guess that's why they're building. The closest thing would be one of the farther Wegman's :-) or the amazing Whole Foods in Annapolis.
I'm going to try CSA + Giant (I'm enjoying the hand scanners in Dorsey) and pine for 2012.

andrea said...

Any recommendations for a CSA to try in Howard County (Ellicott City?) We moved here recently and haven't found any -- that deliver in particular.

dzoey said...

I don't know of Howard County CSA's that deliver on Saturday. We use Evermore Farm becausea they provide both meat and veggies, but the pick up is Saturday in Westminster.

Lisa said...

Regarding CSA -- take a look at South Mountain Veggies. While we don't yet have experience with them, we're signed up for their summer season (starting June 1). They drop off at your house (if you live within their delivery areas, of which Howard County is one). Looks like a pretty good deal, and I believe you're not "locked in" to a subscription (can start/stop at anytime). We signed up for the waiting list last fall and finally were offered a spot, so it seems pretty popular.

Anonymous said...

Some info on the Columbia Wegmans drama. The current site is being blocked by several injunctions filed by a union representative living in Ellicott City. I think the most current one is to force them to do more soil sampling of the area. If not for these delay tactics the store would have been open late 2009.

Lotsabogeys said...

Anon 11:55,

What injunctions? There are no court cases involving Carvel Mays. All the county appeals and lawsuits have been dismissed.

Since you mention more soil sampling it sounds like you might be thinking about Paul Kendall in Turf valley. He is trying to stop an expansion of homes there.

Alison said...

Julie - Glad to know I'm not alone! As a matter of fact, my mom and I drove to the first Northern Virginia location the day it opened and saw PLENTY of Bills t-shirts, Sabres sweatshirts, etc. on the customers shopping that day. I actually worked at a grocery store up there too, but it was Tops, not Wegmans. Back in the days when Tops International in Amherst was all the rage. LOL.

Bruce said...

My wife and I have found the fruits and vegetables at Frank's Produce (when they are open)in Elkridge to be much fresher than our local Giant. Plus the annuals they sell have been beautiful. I get so tired of the onions from Giant turning to mush after 3 days, although the Broccoli and Cauliflower are usually pretty good. Like Alison, I also grew up in WNY and can't wait to get my Sahlens hot dogs too. I am especially looking forward to a decent seafood department. We've been waiting 5 years now for Wegmans in Columbia, so what's another year. Happy Spring everyone!

Wegmaniac said...

No, no say it ain't so. We've waited long enough. Can't we protest this with Wegman's somehow?

Anonymous said...

It's not Howard County, but it's close enough for some Howard County residents: Catonsville will offer two farmers markets this year. The Wednesday market will return to its regular location with many of its regular vendors. Yay! And this year, there will be a Sunday market with different vendors, including a bison meat supplier, in old Catonsville as well -- in the parking lot of the shopping center with Sam's Bagels and Friendly's. Go to this page and click on the links for each market to see a list of vendors.

http://catonsville.org/events/farmersmarket.html

Anonymous said...

I went to school at UB and my hubby went to Cornell. We can't wait. 2012 is very sad. Sometimes we stop by Hunt Valley on our way home from trips. :)

Rob said...

I recently joined a private beta test of the Tagwhat (www.tagwhat.com) mobile augmented reality app. I stopped by the Wegman's construction trailer on McGaw and tagged the spot, adding a picture, and now a link to the HowChow "News - Wegmans" label.

Now that I've done that, I'm thinking it might be a useful idea to tag local eats and include links to HowChow entries for them. Once out of beta, users can just hold their phone's camera up and, using the app, see tags that have been left by other users.

Is it really useful? I don't know yet. We'll see. It depends on others in the area using the app. Until a feature is added to turn on all tags in a given area, you will only see tags of those you follow. Without benefit of an invitation code, I joined the beta by emailing the parent company directly at "info@iryss.com." I told them I wanted to help test and they provided an invite. You might also ask at "feedback@tagwhat.com" I'm itching to start sharing with other locals. I am user 'robpayne' on tagwhat.

Anonymous said...

I find the produce at the Harris Teeter store in King's Contrivance to be much better than Safeway/Giant. On the negative side, the store management is not very good, so the prepared food stinks (literally, sometimes!) and the place is either full of restockers, all working at once, or the shelves are empty. Once Wegmans comes, there will be a mass defection, but until then, it's a cut above the others...