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Wegmans Food Markets’ first New England store, located at Routes 9 and 20 in Northborough, Mass., opens its doors at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16. The 138,000-square-foot store stocks an awe-inspiring 70,000 products it offers – about twice the average number for traditional grocery stores, according to industry figures – and boasts a singular design meant to welcome shoppers.
“As you approach the store,” noted Corinne Chiogna, who led the grocer’s design team on the project, “there’s a rooster-themed weathervane atop a cupola in the center of a gabled roof. It’s a reminder of food’s roots in agriculture. The stonework on the face of the building, the diagonal bracing, and soft neutral colors with red accents on the roof make you think of a barn in the countryside. We chose traditional rather than trendy themes because we wanted everyone to feel comfortable in this space.”
The rural theme continues inside the store, with such features as a hand-painted mural over the Coffee Bar that depicts Wegmans’ Organic Farm on the edge of Canandaigua Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. In a novel touch, every half-hour, the barn door in the mural opens, the sun lights up, and a crowing rooster pops out of the three-dimensional barn attached to the mural.
The store’s departments are set up as different shops, such as would be found in a European village. Each shop offers mouthwatering displays, like the racks in the Charcuterie hung with gourmet hams from Spain, Germany and Italy.
“Think of it as being an adventure,” suggests Kevin Russell, the store’s manager. “It’s a lot to take in all at once, but our people are trained to help each step of the way, from finding exactly want you want, to answering questions like ‘Tell me an easy way to prepare tilapia that my family will love.’”
Additional store features include a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating for 300.
Rochester, N.Y.-based, family-owned Wegmans operates 79-store supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts.