|Wendy Webster, manager of the Columbia Wegmans|
HowChow reader Rob got himself an interview with Wendy Webster, the manager of the new Columbia Wegmans. He went armed with questions from HowChow and the I Want The Columbia Wegmans Facebook page. The big rumor -- that the store might open before the publicly-announced date of June 17, 2012.
Rob just asked. He got an interview. And he got answers:
My opportunity to interview Wendy Webster seems to have had something to do with timing. The folks at Wegmans have been following the chatter on the Web with questions about the store and thought it time to answer them. I just happened to have contacted Consumer Affairs to ask for an opportunity to talk with Wendy at the same time.
Perhaps it did not hurt that I am a fan of the company and decidedly not a journalist. I only occasionally contribute to this blog. However it came about, I was happy to have the opportunity.
I met Wendy at the Wegmans business office on Wincopin Circle. This is where they're interviewing for 700 future full- and part-time employees out of the more than 6000 applicants. Along with my own questions, I brought with me those submitted by HowChow readers. Wendy was prepared for the interview and had a list of things she could and could not yet divulge.
I asked Wendy first about Wegmans’ opening date. I had heard second- or third-hand that good weather left construction ahead of schedule and that the store could open as early as Mother’s Day. That will not happen. They need to hire and train employees who need formal training as well as on-the-job training at other regional stores. There are also other plans regarding store layout and vendor agreements to complete. The new Wegmans store in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will include the most up-to-date company innovations and will serve as a preview to the new Columbia store.
Here is a rundown of the answers to questions from HowChow readers –
- There will be no babysitting service.
- There will be a kosher deli and fresh deli.
- No beer & wine license due to conditions beyond Wegmans’ control.
- Cooking and other education classes will be offered -- as will family movie nights and catering.
- Delivery has not been determined and will require more study of the local market.
- A seafood bar will be offered as part of the general food bar.
- Wegmans has developed a good in-house sourdough bread and is working on a pumpernickel; there will be a full butcher shop, including the D’artagnan line of duck products.
- The second floor will have seating for the cafe and another tenant, although that has not yet been chosen. ; seating for the café will be offered on the second floor of this 145,000 square foot building, but no tenant has been chosen for the second floor space.
Ray Poson, the new manager of the Columbia Wegmans fish market happened by and joined in the conversation. Ray attended Wegmans Seafood University and has traveled the world in search of fresh, top-catch products for Wegmans. Ray claims that, as long as your requested item is in season, he can get it fresh to the store with a week’s notice, sometimes in as little as two days.
Wegmans folks have mottoes they live by, such as “living who we are” and “giving my best every day.” Sounds schmaltzy, but they really do believe it. It must work for them. Wegmans has spent 15 years on the list of top companies for which to work, and have been as high as number three.Now another reader needs to go ask Wendy for the list of things that she cannot divulge!