9 Things You Didn't Know About Wegmans

This beloved supermarket chain is a Northeast gem

9 Things You Didn't Know About Wegmans

Wikimedia Commons/ Daniel Pegfield

Who isn’t a fan of Wegmans? This chain, which has 85 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia and opens two to three more annually, has been family-owned since its founding and sells an extremely wide variety of items. And their store brand and prepared foods are legitimately fantastic. But did you know that Wegmans has been around since 1916 and was a major trailblazer in the grocery industry? Read on for nine things you didn’t know about this popular supermarket. 

Robert Wegman Was an Industry Trailblazer and Philanthropist

Wikimedia Commons/ Maryland Pride

The son of cofounder Walter Wegman, Robert joined the company in the early 1940s and was chairperson until his death in 2006. During his tenure, he grew the company into one of the largest privately owned companies in America, converting stores into a self-service format in 1949, implementing a broad employee benefit program, becoming one of the first stores in the country to use laser scanning in 1974, and building out the supply chain and store brand. He was also a major benefactor of his high school and college and helped create the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College. His son, Danny, is the current head of the company. 

The Apostrophe Was Removed in 1931

The apostrophe has been missing since the company was first incorporated in 1931, and if they decided to replace it today, adding it to every sign would cost more than half a million dollars. “Just think of it as the plural Wegmans, as in the many generations of Wegman family members that have built the company!” they write on their website.  

They Once Offered Home Delivery

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For a brief time, the chain delivered items to homes, but has since discontinued the service. For the time being, they offer a pick-up service called “Personal Shopping” at their Rochester location. 

They Operate a Stand-Alone Restaurant in Rochester

At their location in Rochester suburb Pittsford (which is their largest), there are three distinct eating areas, and next door there’s a stand-alone restaurant run by Wegmans, called Next Door by Wegmans, where all ingredients are sourced from the grocery store. 

For Legal Reasons, Their Liquor Stores Are Owned by Different Family Members

Due to New York liquor laws, no one person is allowed to own more than one liquor store. For this reason, each of the standalone liquor stores run by Wegmans are owned by a different member of the Wegman family, and the Wegmans company doesn’t own any of them. 

They Run a Massive ‘Culinary Innovation Center’

In 2009, the company opened a $36 million Culinary Innovation Center in Rochester where all of their marinated meats, sauces, and prepared items are made. All their recipes are developed there, a process that can take upwards of a year. 

Walgreens Sued Them Over Their ‘W’ Logo

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Walgreens sued Wegmans for trademark infringement in 2010, when they decided that Wegmans’ “W” logo was too similar to their own. Wegmans settled the following year, and agreed to stop using the logo. 

They Stopped Selling Tobacco Products in 2008

Wegmans announced in January 2008 that they would no longer sell tobacco products, and offered smoking cessation programs to all employees. The American Lung Association thanked them by bestowing their “Lung Champion Award” upon the company. 

They’re Coming to Brookyn

There are 11 new locations in the works, in places including Alexandria and Charlottesville, Virginia; Hanover Township, New Jersey, Owings Mills and Westwood, Maryland; and Concordville, Pennsylvania. But the location that has the most people excited is the Brooklyn Navy Yard outpost. There is hopeful speculation in New York's Westchester County and in southeastern Connecticut that they might be next.