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Wegmans: Your New Grocer?

Will you forego your usual grocery store for the new Wegman's in Columbia?

It has now been a couple days since a to usher in Howard County's newest mega-grocery store.

The Columbia Wegmans will offer 700 different produce items, 300 kinds of cheeses, and employ 160 chefs. 

The effect of the Wegmans is already being felt by local Giant grocery stores. A Howard County Giant manager told Columbia Patch on Monday that there were noticeable losses in revenue at multiple county Giant grocery stores on Sunday, the .

On Tuesday, local food blog HowChow wrote about the Wegmans shopping experience after exploring the massive grocery store for the first time on Monday morning.

"Overall, the Wegmans lives up to the hype because the food is exciting," decided HowChow. But the blogger also noted the store doesn't replace everything else and said he couldn't find a pie ingredient his wife needed.

In a comment on a story about King's Contrivance Village Center published last week, a reader, Christine, noted, "nothing beats being able to walk over to the KC village center during the evening or weekend with the toddler in her wagon and get pizza or sushi or Chinese and then Rita’s. That village center, along with the park, pool, and the paths through the woods, are what keep me from wanting to move, even though we're starting to outgrow our condo. I've walked to the grocery store and the liquor store plenty of times and don't see that changing once Wegmans opens."

Despite these thoughts, on Monday it felt like half of Howard County was spending their morning at Wegmans. Shoppers were gawking at the diverse fresh fish selection, picking out pastries and populating the whole second-floor cafe during lunch.

bill bissenas June 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM
No, too crowded, everyone's bunched up on one end of the store, getting into the parking lot is a nightmare, aisles are poorly arranged/organized, and prices aren't that much better than other places that are easier to get into and get around in. I know it's only been a couple days, but I suspect the crowds, parking and traffic will always be problematic. The store should have been located in a shopping center with much more parking and many more entrances and exits. Disaster.
Andrew Metcalf (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Funny you mention the parking lot. My source from Giant, whose identity I'm protecting for job security reasons, said "That parking lot is going to kill them." I agreed. Getting into the parking lot was a hassle, and the one way out is annoying.
bill bissenas June 19, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The location, while seemingly attractive from an access point of view, is probably a blunder and it will limite the revenue potential of this store. As sophisticated as Wegman's seems to be in terms of marketing, one wonders how in the world they came to pick this location and design the parking in such a manner.
BOH June 19, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I haven't been in the parking lot yet, but it does seem to me like it's an awful location. While Wegman's may or may not have as many cars in the parking lot at one time as an IKEA on a weekend, its customers are typically there for a much shorter period of time, which means there's a lot more vehicle traffic. Between that higher traffic volume and lesser highway and feeder access (oh, that's right; the east coast doesn't know about feeders/access roads) means it could be a nightmare compared to the easy experience of going to the College Park IKEA. What annoys me is why there's not really any effort to move things west. Everything's in that awful east Columbia/Elkridge commercial corridor, which has almost no residential. You'd think that with Target, CostCo, Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart, Giant, BJ's, Harris Teeter, Lowe's, and Food Lion all in that relatively compact area, there might be some idea of one or two decent bigger food stores in Ellicott City, northern/western Columbia, or Clarksville. There are of course normal supermarkets, but just the cookie-cutter Safeway/Giant experience. I suppose it's by design, since that 95/175/32 triangle offers so much traffic volume, but it's a real PITA area.
Mari June 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I've gone to the Hunt Valley Wegman's for 6 years now and will be doing my shopping at the Columbia Wegman's. It will be much more convenient for me because I can do my shopping in the evenings, rather than on Saturday afternoons, since I won't need to deal with the Beltway. Now if they would just start opening stores in the Carolinas so they are there when I want to retire in a few years...
Q June 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
It's the DisneyWorld of grocery stores! All they need now is to get the liquor store approved & it will be one-stop-shopping! Wake up, Maryland...it's time to change those ridiculous alcohol restrictions!
Diane Sendlenski June 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Wegman's is an outstanding store! I'm like a kid in a candy store when I go in there. I am so happy that we Columbia residents aren't forced to shop at Giant and Safeway anymore, now we have a quality store to shop in. (I for one will never step foot in Safeway anymore). Wegman's employees are well known for their quality customer service and having a professional chef run the department makes sense.I don't mind the parking, I think it's well thought out. I hope they get their liquor license too!!!! Thank you Wegman's for coming to Columbia! I'm your #1 fan!!
Nichelle June 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I love this store!!! The store itself with all of the amenities is worth the parking which is really not bad at all. I love the energy of the store. I am from NYC so the parking lot and the people enjoying the shopping experience is just a part of being ALIVE!! I used to shop at Wegmans where I attended college in upstate New York and it was very nice then but they have come a long way. The two levels, sofa seating areas, Cafe, conference room...wow what more can you ask! Way to go Wegman's family. I am also a huge fan. I was so excited to hear that this store was coming to Columbia and now it is here...I just may change my mind about moving out of Columbia after all.

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