Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wegmans -- Rob Pops The Questions About What You Can Expect At The New Columbia Store

Wendy Webster, manager of the Columbia Wegmans
We're overdoing the Wegmans news.  I feel like I need to remind a few people that we're having fun around here.  We know that we're overdoing, and it's fun to enjoy a place that will deliver so much food.

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!


Julie said...

So sad there won't be a WKids, babysitting service. In Howard County they would probably be swamped and could charge for the service!

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the babsitting service, luckily my kids seem to be good enough when we go shopping. *knock on wood*

I will say, the seafood and wegmans is always very good and I worry that I may stop going to Frank's as much. It would certainly save a trip and if the price is close enough I may just stick with Wegmans. (Except for crabs of course!!)

Barbi said...

Big bummer about no kids service! I am shocked considering their location and main demographic here in Howard county. I am still excited about the opening, but very disappointed in the lack of child care. Julie is right, they could even charge for it.....crazy!

Anonymous said...

monstOr...people in Howard County could actually be parents ad stop walking around stores on their phones, mostly talking about their jobs, ignoring their kids.

Brian said...

I spotted Ray at Judges Bench recently, owner Mike pointed him out, I guess they worked together at one point several years ago. He's coming in from the Hunt Valley Wegmans.

Marty Katz said...

The Kosher department's good for all, as their roasted chickens, though $7.99, are much better than their $5.99 (just raised from 4.99) regular birds. And that department's two chicken salads are made from those chickens in-store; the regular (there are 2 or 3) come from the commissary up north in big batches. The chicken soup is variable but usually good. Hope they'll have the dim sum bar.

Anonymous said...

No Kosher Deli at the Harford County Wegs - what a bummer.

Anonymous said...

I moved here from Southern New Jersey, and I had two Wegmans within 10 miles of each other (Cherry Hill and Mt.Laurel, and another about 14 miles away (princeton). I am SO excited about this! Sad to hear that there won't be a liquor store. I still work in Southern New Jersey, and often stop at the liquor store at the Mt.Laurel wegmans, as it is so cheap, and has a fantastic selection. I can not wait to be able to buy their grilled chicken salad so close to home. Living in Kendal Ridge, I can walk!

Bruce said...

I’d like to say “great job to Rob”, and to thank him for taking the time to get some answers from Wegmans. I think he writes better than many reporters on CNN’s website. (I’m serious!!). I for one am really stoked about our new Wegmans. But obviously not as much as Rob. Maybe they will let him be part of the opening ceremony.

Bucinka said...

Wegmans was named the #1 best company to work for in 2006.

Bucinka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbi said...

To Anonymous, please don't lump all the parents out there in the same category of ignoring our children. As a stay at home mom, I was looking forward to being able to get my shopping done, check labels, compare prices and pull out coupons without singing songs, playing "I Spy" or having a lesson on "not getting everything you see". There are great parents in HC and wanting a short hour to really shop isn't too much to wish for. Please save your criticisms for another blog and not this wonderful HowChow site that has only brought us wonderful food finds!

little audrey said...

"There will be no babysitting service..."

" tenant has been chosen for the second floor space."

HoCo entrepreneurs: the opportunity phone is ringing!

Bruce said...

I really can't blame Wegmans for not having the Baby Sitting service. In todays world, if a child falls and scrapes a knee under their watch, more often than not a lawsuit is sure to follow.

Farmer88 said...

Wegmans hasn't really built a WKids in years and the last one I recall seeing was probably a decade ago. There might be a few left, but none of the new stores have contained one. Which is a disappointment, I recall going to one of the stores in Rochester when I was young and they had this "Pirate's Cove" babysitting in the corner of the store. Good memories. I think one of the problems was bathrooms. Whenever I or my brother had to use the bathroom, our babysitter had to be called over to take us, even though it was literally 20 feet away. This and possible injuries have probably dissuaded Wegmans from continuing implementation of the WKids area. Which is a shame.

Sillil said...

I received an E-mail that Wegmans is now hiring. Here is the website: