I love Wegmans. Its the grocery store to top all grocery stores. I even take visitors from the UK to the one in Allentown to marvel at their selection of fish, meat and baked goods (my mum and dad in particular love looking around it). I’ve always had one criticism of the Allentown store though – while its a very nice brick building – it’s a few years old and is always very crowded, the aisles are quite narrow and the store has a somewhat haphazard layout. So I was very excited when they opened a new store in Collegeville, just 20 minutes away (and another one is planned right next to my work in Valley Forge).
When I went to the Collegeville store yesterday though, I was actually a little disappointed. Oh the food is just as good i’m sure, but as I was shopping I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bothering me, then it hit me as I was leaving … you see the new store feels much bigger, there’s more room in the aisles, its a big, square, modern building (steel with a brick face i’m sure) with a high roof, its layout is very straightforward – no little corners with specialty food hidden away – and I found that I was missing the crowded aisles, the pleasant surprise upon rounding a corner and finding an unexpected section of international food, the lower ceiling and more intimate decor. In fact, on reflection the new building felt a bit like an (albeit nice) warehouse, and I really don’t think that’s the image Wegmans is going for. Be careful Wegmans, think about your overall experience … a lot of people don’t go to your stores just to buy nice food, they go for the experience!