As the nation slowly reopens after months in lockdown mode during the coronavirus pandemic, Wegmans Food Markets plans a more cautious approach to opening new stores.
Wegmans said Tuesday that it will now give a targeted time frame for when a new location will open its doors to customers. For this year, the Rochester, N.Y.-based regional grocer has announced plans to open three stores, in Harrison, N.Y.; West Cary, N.C.; and Tysons Corner, Va.
Because social distancing requirements continue across Wegmans’ Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market area, the chain also said it will suspend grand-opening events.
“As we keep the safety of our employees and customers a top priority, we’ve had to rethink how we open these stores. While we love the excitement of opening morning, with customers anxiously awaiting to see their new Wegmans, we know this isn’t possible as the need to maintain social distancing remains. With that in mind, we will share a targeted time frame that the store will open,” Wegmans said in a statement to customers on Tuesday.
“We believe this will allow us to keep our employees and customers safe, and also give us flexibility to open our doors as soon as possible,” the company explained. “We look forward to meeting you in person but will be limiting the number of customers in the store at any given time to ensure we are able to maintain safe social distancing. With these measures in place, we ask for your patience and understanding, as you may need to wait in line to enter the store.”
In late March, Wegmans said it was postponing the opening of the 121,000-square-foot Harrison store to a future date. The company had previously announced a June 7 opening for the store, which will be its 48th in New York, and said hiring for 500 full- and part-time jobs already was under way.
Wegmans in late February announced an Aug. 2 opening for the 103,000-square-foot store in West Cary, the chain’s second North Carolina location, and continues to list that opening date on its website. The store will bring 450 full- and part-time jobs to the area. Wegmans opened its first North Carolina store — the grocer’s 100th location — last September in Raleigh.
Earlier this month, Wegmans began hiring for 180 part-time jobs at the 80,000-square-foot Tysons Corner store, which the company still expects to open this fall. Full-time hiring had started in February. The store will be part of Capital One Center, a mixed-use development that includes commercial, hotel, residential and retail space. Currently, Wegmans has a dozen stores in Virginia.
“We are excited to share that all three stores will open with online ordering via curbside pickup and delivery, and we encourage customers to take advantage of these services,” Wegmans said of the upcoming Harrison, West Cary and Tyson’s Corner locations.
Overall, the retailer now operates 101 supermarkets with stores in seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Most recently, in late October, Wegmans opened a new 74,000-square-foot store in the Brooklyn Navy Yard development, marking the chain’s first New York City location. Other new stores planned by the retailer include locations in Greenville, Del.; Rockville, Md.; Middletown, N.J; Washington, D.C. (in the former Fannie Mae campus); Alexandria, Arcola and Reston, Va.; and Wake Forest, Cary, Chapel Hill and Holly Springs, N.C. No opening timetables have been announced.
“Every year, one of the things we look forward to most is opening our new stores and the opportunity to get to know and serve our newest communities,” Wegmans stated. “Faced with the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity to serve the needs of these communities is more important than ever, and we are committed to opening the three stores planned for this year.”
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