Wegmans move to NYC is a game changer for the industry: analyst

Wegmans, a supermarket chain that has built a loyal and devoted following primarily in the suburbs, is coming to New York City.

The grocer is known for its produce and folksy, Middle America style, but by opening in the Big Apple at a location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Saturday there is an opportunity to shake things up regionally and draw a blueprint for a potentially expanding the brand.

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania - July 16, 2012: Wegmans Food Markets are a family-owned supermarket chain with 80 stores located in the northeastern U.S. The company has been ranked within the top ten best companies to work for for eight years as listed (iStock)

“Wegmans entering New York City is a major disruptor for the grocery business, and this is just the start,” Phil Lempert, editor of SupermarketGuru.com and food industry analyst, told FOX Business. “The announcement of opening a store in Midtown, at Hudson Yards, may well show us the future of what an urban store should look like as well as the beginnings of a new format for Wegmans to grow in cities along the East Coast.”

The supermarket, which has 90 stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, is known for its fresh produce and trendy offerings. The 74,000-square-foot Brooklyn store has more than 60,000  products, including an extensive restaurant-quality prepared foods department and more than 4,000 organic products. The also has a hot food bar.

In going to Brooklyn, Wegmans is entering a region that is ripe for the coveted millennial demographic, one that rival Whole Foods has done well within the New York City market.

The idea of convenience is one that studies have shown has appeals to millennials. Since this demographic values organic and fresh, the addition of Wegmans enters a market tailor-made to embrace these offerings.

“It will certainly have an effect on the supermarkets that are nearby. Most New Yorkers either walk to their supermarkets or have their groceries delivered so it is hyper local,” Lempert said.

“I believe that their delivery business will be huge - much larger share than is traditional for grocers.”

Wegmans is a big deal to its loyal customers. A Harris Poll earlier this year had them listed as the top reputation for any brand, regardless of industry. For three years since 2018, it was named the top supermarket in a poll by Market Force.