Coming from the West Coast, I had never heard of Wegmans, which has a bit of a cult following in Rochester. I kept hearing people refer to it, but I didn’t know what it was, much less why it was so popular. For those of you who are in the same boat, here’s a summary of what Wegmans is, why it’s so popular, my experiences shopping there, and how students can access it.
What is Wegmans?
In short, Wegmans a grocery chain that originated in a suburb of Rochester. There are nearly one hundred stores across six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia), which explains why I (and perhaps you) hadn’t heard of it. As explained by senior Sam Dinga on the car ride to my first Wegmans trip, “It’s like a cross between Kroger and Trader Joe’s.” If you’re not familiar with these points of reference, basically Wegmans is nicer than the average grocery store and offers organic/alternative products, but isn’t on the same plane as stores like Whole Foods, Publix, Marlene’s, and other stores that specialize in organic, healthier, and/or environmentally friendly products.
Why is it so popular?
One reason that people like Wegmans so much is that it offers a variety of quality food at good prices. There are healthier, organic, and more sustainable options, but they aren’t as expensive as other places. The generic Wegmans-brand products are cheaper than mainstream products but the quality is not compromised. In fact, some people prefer certain Wegmans-brand items to the usual. In my opinion, it’s sacrilege to like off-brand Oreos more than the real deal, but some people do prefer the Wegmans “Oreos.” Another good Wegmans-brand product is macaroni and cheese. I’ve always liked Kraft more than any other boxed macaroni and cheese, but Wegmans gives it a run for its money.
Another reason that Wegmans is so popular, at least in Rochester, is that it’s a common first employer for local teenagers. Based on the fact that it was in the top ten of Fortune’s list of the best companies to work for eight years in a row, it’s no wonder people who have worked there appreciate it so much. Wegmans’ appeal to people looking for a job is apparent in its status as the third largest employer in Rochester.
When asked to comment on Wegmans, Claire Harte, a lifetime resident of upstate New York, says it’s “a great company that treats its customers and employees well,” which she attributes to its success.
My experience shopping at Wegmans
My first trip to Wegmans was a bit overwhelming. Students had built so much hype over it and I didn’t know how to approach the store for the first time. Luckily, I was with somebody who was familiar with Wegmans to give me some tips about navigating the store. First tip: download the Wegmans app. It has many handy features and I have used it every time since then. Anyway, every shopping trip I’ve made there has been positive. I’ve always found everything I’ve needed and left feeling like I got a good bang for my buck.
How to get to Wegmans from the University of Rochester
Even though first years can’t have cars, you can still get to Wegmans in one of three ways: taking the bus, getting an Uber or Lyft, or asking an upperclassman with a car to let you tag along next time they go. The Green Line runs to Wegmans on Saturdays from noon until 10 pm, so you have to schedule your grocery shopping around that if you plan on taking the bus. Uber/Lyft is the most convenient because you can get one anytime, but it’s about $25 round trip. The key there is to find a person or two to split the ride with.
Will you visit Wegmans when you come to Rochester?