By Aaron Cahall and Jennifer Williams
Harford County residents hotly anticipated the opening of the new Wegmans grocery store in Abingdon for months. But when the day came, Mindy Kretschmer wasn’t going to let any of them beat her inside the doors.
The Bel Air resident was in line just before 4 a.m., along with a handful of others who ventured out on an early fall morning Sunday to be the first to enter the megastore. Before the store even opened she had already picked out the first items, a pair of purple dahlia plants.
“I’m just so proud it’s here, I’m so excited to be a part of this grand opening. It’s going to bring a lot of wonderful things to this community,” she said.
Kretschmer and more than 200 people stood in line just after 6 a.m. Sunday. But the numbers swelled in the minutes before the store’s grand opening, as hundreds more joined in lines eventually stretching around both sides of the large Box Hill building. Greeters worked the lines, signing up new shoppers for Wegmans discount stores and passing out the company’s in-house magazine along with a map—really—of the new store.
Inside, the store’s employees made last-minute preparations to their departments and tried to work ahead on making items to stock later in the day, as the crowds grew even larger.
“There’s sometimes hundreds waiting, sometimes thousands, but it always gets busier as the day goes along,” John Emerson, Wegmans executive chef for sushi, said as he prepared a shrimp tempura roll at the store’s sushi station. “It always gets busier through the day. It settles down for a few weeks, then picks up again as the word really gets out.”
Emerson prepares a sushi roll shortly before the store’s opening.
At the store’s bakery, bread artisan Nickolas Greco worked ahead on bread he guessed would be in a basket and out the door by noon. He thought the biggest crowds would descend at about 2 p.m. Sunday.
Greco prepares bread dough early Sunday morning.
Emerson and Greco were members of the Wegmans corporate staff on hand for the grand opening to help the store’s staff get the swing of things—but many more of the staff are local residents. Among them was Kathy Beck of Bel Air, who chopped mushrooms for packaging just minutes before the store opened.
Beck said she graduated culinary school in December and went to work for Wegmans in their Hunt Valley store in March before eagerly accepting a transfer to the Bel Air store, closer to home.
“We’ve been working really long, really hard to get to this point,” she said, adding that her training had taken her to the company’s stores in Frederick and Fairfax.
Beck prepares a mushroom blend tray for sale later in the day.
The store’s employees gathered at the front 10 minutes before the official 7 a.m. opening to listen to a few final words from store manager Al Jackson. Jackson and other managers then led the group in the “Wegmans cheer” (“Give me a ‘W’…give me an ‘E’…”) as the first customers were led into the store’s foyer and, moments later, the store itself.
Store manager Al Jackson, far left, leads managers in the “Wegmans Cheer.”
The store’s employees participate in the Wegmans cheer as the first customers gather before them in the store’s foyer.
Noticeable among them were a group of young girls in tie-dyed “I [Heart] Wegmans” shirts. Amanda Shultz of Perry Hall, Heather, Melissa and Becky Higgins of Riverside, and Brianna Smith of Bel Air, a collection of cousins and their friends, also created signs to celebrate the occasion. The group said they hadn’t intended to make such a big deal of the opening, at least at first.
“It kinda started out as a joke,” Smith said. “But it got kind of serious.”
From left: Smith, Melissa Higgins, Heather Higgins, Shultz, Becky Higgins.
The Rev. Dr. Mark Gatza, priest in charge of Emanuel Episcopal Church in Bel Air, stopped in at the store “on my way to work.” Gatza said he was a longtime upstate New York resident who is very familiar with Wegmans and also attended the grand opening of the Hunt Valley location.
“For me, it’s about two things,” Gatza said. “One, the quality of the food is superior to anywhere else, and two, they have upstate New York specialties I used to have to bring home when I visited up there.” Those specialties, he said, included State Fair chicken barbeque sauce and Spiedie marinade, two favorites.
Fortunately, Gatza said, “all my friends at Giant have retired, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating on them.”
The impact on that nearby Giant store and the area’s other grocers remains to be seen, though several have undertaken remodeling efforts in recent months.
“I think it is going to hurt them, grocery stores are not doing well,” Kretschmer said. “I wish them all the best, but this is where I needed to be.”
The first shoppers enter the Bel Air Wegmans.
On Opening Day, New Harford County Grocery Store is Easy to Enter, Hard to Leave
To say that I have been excited about the grand opening of Wegmans would be an understatement. My feelings could only compare to that of a child waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. It’s unusual for me to set my alarm for 6am on a Sunday morning (and a chilly one at that!) but I donned my Ravens gear and headed out for some game day food. Everyone in Harford County must have been on the same wavelength because the throngs of shoppers were wrapped around both sides of the building as the sun came up. Local law enforcement was on hand to direct traffic. Surprisingly there were plenty of shopping carts to go around. There were also plenty of Wegmans employees greeting us outside with laptops in hand to sign people up for the Wegmans Shoppers Card. Of course, I had done this on the Internet weeks ago and was able to race right into the store.
Like a deer in highlights I attempted to navigate the aisles upon aisles of victuals. As I passed the Flower Department, someone handed me a beautiful orange rose while informing my husband that he could buy an entire dozen for only $9.99. That definitely got 2 thumbs up from me! And an eye roll from him. After that we became sidetracked in the Greeting Cards and then the Housewares department. Housewares? At a grocery store? This place is going to be much more dangerous for my Visa card than I thought! Keurig machines, dishes for entertaining, Le Creuset cookware and all the other things that put a smile on this girl’s face. Glancing at my watch, I noticed that an hour had already passed and we only had 2 items in the cart. So much to see and so little time before kickoff.
Moving onto the Bulk Candy department, I was thankful that I did not have children in tow. Bins of brightly colored candies and chocolates were a temptation even at the crack of dawn. Next I saw a Trail Mix bar, something I had never encountered in any other store. And then an area where you could purchase freshly chopped vegetables for your home cooked recipes. Very expensive but convenient I suppose. The asparagus was $5.99 per pound versus $1.69 in the regular Produce department.
The crowds were thick but employees and vendors were at each end cap to assist shoppers with tracking down their every whim. Bypassing the cleaning supplies, I moved onto the International Foods. Having just returned from a vacation in New Orleans, I was happy to see items with the Tony Chacheres and Zatarains labels.
Wegmans has a huge variety of prepared foods, so I may never cook again. But I still loaded up my cart with various ethnic bottled sauces to experiment with at home. There were prepared food bars throughout the store with Indian food (which became my breakfast), Sushi, salad, pizza, coffee, Thai, Asian, buffalo wings, southern style barbeque with all the sides, burritos, ice cream, paninis, DESSERTS, you name it. I did not notice a Smoothie bar but I’m sure it was there somewhere!
The Mediterranean Bar showcased every type of olive under the sun, along with hummus and roasted peppers. Next to the Mediterranean Bar was the Cheese Department, an olive’s best friend. A Cheese expert was there explaining some of the flavors, and samples were being handed out of their brie on soft bread (quite good!).
In the Seafood Department, fresh swordfish was being carved into steaks. Grouper, rockfish, halibut and salmon were also featured. The prices were higher than other stores, but remember folks, this seafood was fresh and caught in the good ole US of A, not Thailand or Vietnam or some other far off land.
The deli was not as interesting as some of the other departments. Most of the meats were similar to the Boars Head brand that we have become accustomed to. But surprisingly there was no wait to place an order.
Finally, our last stop was for a homemade Italian Cold Cut submarine for game time. A 14 inch sub with all the fixins’ was only $7.99. What a deal! The bread was fresh, the meat and toppings delicious.
After almost 3 hours of shopping, it was time to say goodbye. There was no line at the checkout, which gave me plenty of time to get to Planet Fitness. I felt like I had gained ten pounds already!
The only thing that would improve the Wegmans experience would be if the Maryland legislature allowed beer and wine sales. But that is a topic for another day.
Kate Lawless says
I realize it’s awesome that Wegman’s has opened yet another store in Maryland. I, myself, am excited for the Columbia store opening. But I can’t believe people showed up and waited in line at 4am….that’s over-the-top ridiculous. But, I guess this is the biggest thing to happen in Harford County in a long time…so…. gotta be excited about something!
Matt Spearman says
Yeah its a little odd to wait in line that early for a grocery store. Brian next time you have something like this and want a photog shoot me a message. I didnt even think about this being news!
Kathy Beck says
Matt, it’s not a grocery store, it’s food Disneyland. Try it out and you’ll see it’s photog worthy and NEWS!
jason mcgill says
“Holy Sheet!! Groceries! Hurry up Babs, lets git on over to da market and wait in dee line to buy us sum canned goodz!”
Folks, relax, have a drink- it’s a Market, Grocery Store, food store, etc. We have about 30 of them in the county. Unless this is ’80’s era Moscow, or strippers were handing out favors around back, this ebullient enthusiasm for a grocery store opening is completely disproportionate to the actual return on the event.
That said, I don’t know why I’m surprised- Friday morning I saw 11 misguided housewives already camped out in the (not yet open) Homegoods parking lot.
Get it together people, you’re embarrassing my hometown.
Alex R says
Your hometown (and mine) had already embarrassed itself by the dearth of shopping and other opportunities. People have to go out of the county for a lot of stuff. Public library available on a Sunday afternoon? Nope, and it is not budget. Decent restaurant? Sorry, chains only. Decent (but certainly not great) shopping mall? Go to Towson, or even further. Great private high schools? Closest are in Baltimore County. Great hospital? You get the picture.
If all those are true (to which I disagree on almost all counts), then why don’t you move to BaltCo. Your idea of sensational events is a grocery store opening? And you think as you do of the other things mentioned? Based on that, your opinion does not hold much weight with us.
Kathy Beck says
Ah…Jason, what rock did you just crawl out from under? This is the biggest thing to hit Harford Co. in a long time. And, evidently you haven’t been to Wegmans so you don’t really know what you’re talking about. The hotels are booked, and, 1,ooo to 2,ooo Support People from New York to Virginia will be staying at these hotels over the next three weeks. These people will be dining out, getting gas and visiting local resturants and shops, while making Wegmans in Bel Air the great place it is. Don’t hate. Try it, you might just like it. Or…stay home.
I will make an overall response to you here, since the Dagger doesn’t allow me to do so below.
I ask for and gave you an opportunity to explain your comments and provide supporting details to make your argument clear to everyone, even while putting aside and not responding to your other inane and unproductive comments directed at me.
In your response, you failed to take that opportunity, and yet again attempted to disparage my point of view.
Unfortunately for you, I have been to the Wegman’s in Hunt Valley many times (though not in the last couple years), both as a shopper and on business, where I met with both store management and upper management from NY. I am quite familiar with Wegmans from a consumer and business perspective. I think they are a terrific company and they run a great store that is more than a frickin grocery store. So you see, I do in fact know what I’m talking about.
And I have demonstrated it. Until you learn to demonstrate understanding and provide supporting detail for your comments, particularly when questioned directly, you will be ignored and your opinions dismissed.
I was honestly curious about your experience at this store that morning and would still welcome your detailed comments.
Noble, & a few others that have been making some intelligent observations have my support. I am familiar with Wegman’s from both a personal and business perspective. I can understand the excitement of some, especially those of you commenting here that are obviously employees. My experience with Wegman’s began in Rochester, NY, and while I found it nice and the offerings acceptable, I was not so overwhelmed to the point of elation. I went in, bought what I needed, case closed.
I have had experience with the store in Hunt Valley also and Ashburn, VA. I’m sorry for the gentleman who replied all the lanes are open all the time at every store. Untrue. I’ve waited in lines at Hunt Valley location several times. The Ashburn store never had all the lanes opened either. I’m sure they would if necessary, but it isn’t a very good fiscal move if the flow of business does not dictate it.
I love Wegman’s, but I won’t camp out or be the 1st in line. There are some things more important than that (& yes, Relay For Life is 1 of them that I HAVE done through most of the night). I can find almost everything I’ve ever needed when I go to Wegman’s.
Ms. Beck, it is my belief, that as a WEGMAN’S employee, you should excuse yourself from these pages. Your demeanor doesn’t seem to fit in with the Wegman’s credo of customer service. I’m not angry, but you are driving away potential guests from doing business with your place of employ. Others have been terminated for less because of their indiscretions on twitter, facebook, etc.. Perhaps you will be the 1st at Wegman’s for your indiscretions on these pages.
I applied to Wegman’s and was passed over. My experience and salary requirements may have overwhelmed some folks at Wegman’s; instead, Ms. Beck, they hired people like you, fresh out of culinary school, probably making $12/hr. That’s fine, but tone down your emotional radio, so that you can hear the voices of reason in the background. And be grateful for your position by not spewing company propaganda to everyone else who disagrees with you (but not Wegman’s).
Kathy Beck says
So…Mr. McGill…after researching Dagger, it’s an edgy news forum. You don’t sound able to handle edgy. What’s your dealio?
Erin M Listman says
I share your sentiments Mr. McGill.
Kathy Beck says
Oh Erin…you must live under the rock next to Mr. McGil’s. Hopefully, it’s not the McGil’s family from Bel Air.
Kathy Beck says
Excuse me. McGill. Again, hopefully not the McGill’s from Bel Air.
Oh hey Kate! Good to see you haven’t learned your lesson about talking shit about something you know nothing about. You have never even lived in HarCo.
It’s a grocery store. Not the second coming!
Keesha Jackson says
Get a grip on your mouth, Roxy. Your crass language makes you sound like you were educated in the Harco Public School system.
John Hickey says
It is exceedingly disappointing to me that in this era of instant open-ended communication that we are made to have such crass language forced upon us. ROXY, you are entirely at liberty to express your views, but I would like to suggest that you maintain awareness that many of the people who participate in this public discourse find the use such unsophisticated language objectionable. While you do have the freedom to be rude, you should have the good manners to refrain from such behavior.
I apologize for the public reprimand, but I would ask that you consider my viewpoint.
Probably the most annoying thing in all of this is how great shopping at Wegmans and other local groceries has been the last couple months and will continue to be for a couple months.
But eventually, the dust will settle, and we’ll be back to bagging our own groceries at the end of the checkout lane. Without roses.
Nope! One of the greatest thing about Wegmans is that at any given busy time of day, they will have EVERY single check out open. They have so many employees it is easy for them to do that. I can’t stand waiting in line at Giant for half an hour just to get out of the store especially when they have 10 closed registers. At Wegmans, they could be selling toothpaste for all I care, but when there are a thousand shoppers in the store and it still takes me less than 10 minutes to check out, I am forever sold.
Does Wegmans have self check out?
Kathy Beck says
Heeeeyyyyy Ohhhhh Eddie. That’s it! That’s how it is at Wegmans.
Keesha Jackson says
I think, Noble, you will find that you are mistaken on that one. At the other stores, yes. At Wegman’s, no.
How much free stuff did they get by waiting in line all night? I just can’t fathom the deals were that good. Time is money and sleep is irreplaceable. It’s a freakin’ grocery store.
I am pretty sure there were no deals, and no free stuff.
Some people were just that excited.
Kathy Beck says
Hey nobel, there was FREE stuff, and lots of it. Stop hating and start living in the 21st century. Duhhhhhhhhh.
Okay Kathy, let’s chat.
First let’s put aside your comment that I was “hating”, or not “living in the 21st century” and the really charming “duhhh”. None of those comments have anything to do with what I said, nor do they even make any sense at all.
So you say they gave away free stuff? What kind of free stuff? Free samples? Free roses? Free maps? Could you please be specific?
Further, my comment was a reply to the comment that they hopefully got something free for waiting in line. So did you wait in line all morning and did they give you something free for doing so? Did the first shopper get all their groceries free? Did the first 10 shoppers get a free gift card? A free chicken? Again, please be specfic. There hasn’t been any mention from anyone that anything like that happened.
Also, I looked over the Wegman’s advertisement that I got in the mail and there was no mention of any really good deals for the opening. It only gave comparison prices (which were good), and some specials for the week which were also good prices. But there’s no mention of any really special deals or give away items to anyone, let alone the people who waited in line.
Finally, if you took the time to know what you were talking about, you would see that I have been promoting the Wegmans opening in comments on this site for the last 6 months. I don’t think this qualifies me as a hater.
Thank you for reading.
Kathy Beck says
No, Nobel. Let’s not chat.
Catch me after you visit the store and have something to say. And find out if they have self checkouts? 6 months promoting Wegmans? Talk about charming.
If you don’t want to chat, why did you respond to him?
I have been to Wegman’s, its a nice grocery store. I may shop there for some items, though prices on some things are cheaper at BJ’s and at Walmart and the Shop Rite is closer so who knows.
I also don’t think this is the biggest thing to hit HC in a long time. That whole BRAC thing seems a bit bigger and more important. Again, it is a nice grocery store, but, it is only a grocery store. I can’t get that excited over a grocery store.
Anyways, have a nice day.
@Kathy. Do you work for Wegman’s? I finally made my pilgrimage to that shining Camelot on the hill over the weekend and while I found everything interesting I also found it quite expensive. I’ll stick with H-Mart in Catonsville… the freshest produce to be had (it has to be since the stuff is moving out the door so fast), things no one else around here carries at the best prices I’ve seen anywhere around.
Phil Dirt says
amazed, Kathy actually does work for Wegman’s. She’s quoted and also shown in the fourth picture in this article.
Thanks, I should have read more of the comments first. Didn’t pay much attention to the actual article since it’s all fluff. So she is indeed a shill. How sad.
Keesha Jackson says
The one thing I can confidently assure you is that Wegman’s is much more than “a freaking grocery store”. I wouldn’t stand in line all night but others on this site are correct. This is a game changer for the industry in Harford County. ShopRite didn’t invest several million in re-inventing the Festival store on a whim.
Kathy Beck says
Keesha, you’re RIGHT. It’s a game changer!
Noble if they are doing the same as in Hunt Valley they do have self checkout
Unless you have experienced Wegmans on just a regular day you will have no clue. Wegmans makes sure that you get through their lines as fact as you can and ALL employees will help you find stuff, bag your groceries or take them to your car and ALWAYS with a smile and a friendly Hello and Goodbye
It’s a pretty awesome store! An instant game changer for food in our area. It’s like the Disney Land of food & it’s not just a show for the grand opening. I don’t do black friday, and don’t see the point in standing outside waiting for the store to open still I did go by today (Mon). Crowds make my skin crawl & it was packed, but EVERYONE was very polite to each other. I got just enough for dinner tonight and ate a small lunch in samples before I left. Welcome to Harford County Wegmans!!! …awesome
Bel Air Fed says
Keep your museum and the prices that go with it. Thank God for Aldi.
Aldi is a great store if you are discerning on price, and not so much on quality. They have reasonable food, but not a great selection.
But, there is an over-reliance on frozen and packaged food (at very good prices) and not enough fresh food. I think if you are constantly shopping sales of fresh food at other stores and making your own meals you probably aren’t spending much more than you would at Aldi, and are almost certainly eating better.
But Aldi’s is a good place to shop on a budget, when necessary.
Alex R says
The article says “there were plenty of shopping carts to go around. Of course there were plenty. It’s Wegman’s, honey. Wegman’s. Get used to everything being the way it is supposed to be.
While I don’t anticipate any store ever running out of shopping carts except for Christmas time (I have seen it once or twice), I can assure you in 3 months or so they will have a truck carry off the excess carts they need now, to the next store opening.
Sorry, Noble. Just saw this thread and all the negativity you purport. The carts, as well as the friendly and courteous employees are here to stay.
Bel Air Fed says
ooo, at noon on Wednesdays the Wegman’s manager walks on water, how did we ever survive without them?
ALEX R says
Bel Air Fed,
How did we survive without them you ask? The answer is ‘not very well’. We were at the mercy of the supermarket chains Harford County had grown accustomed to and if we wanted something like Sean wanted arugula (see his recent post), well too bad for you. Eithe go to Baltimore or Towson or somewhere ‘in town’ because us poor country folks don’t eat that sort of stuff. It’s just for the citified gentry.
No watch while ShopRite and Giant and Weis and Redner’s and Mars (have I left anyone out – forget about Harvest Fare, they are a non-event) anyway, while those stores scramble. Oh well, either compete or dry up and fade away. Another prediction, the Harford County Farmer’s Market will either look a lot different next year or it too will shrink to ‘not very much’. This baloney about buying local even though it costs 50% more is also getting old. I would love to buy local but I’m not paying a big premium to do it.
Some people will do anything to be first & get their name in the paper, or online, or get on TV. It is just another grocery store, they may do fancy things & have fancy things & put a twist on how they do it, but the prices aren’t going to blow your socks off. It’s incredible in this economy that people who complain about how they have had to downsize, go stand in line half the night to get into a grocery store. Would any of these people who waited from 330 am r 4 am stay up all night & do Relay for Life, you know, something that is worthwhile? Or are they too busy being 1st in line @ a grocery store or Chik Fil A grand opening?!
They do have self checkouts, I saw at least 4. But I was dissapointed b/c the two things I went in for which I figured they would have they dont. Guess I will have to order them on the web….oh well
That’s great, thanks for the info. I was hoping they would have them.
Phil Dirt says
If Kathy Beck is going to continue to reply and post about Wegmans, I believe that she should note in her posts that she works for Wegmans, and refer to the store as “we”, not “they”. This sort of thing gets people banned from some forums as it is considered shilling.
Fact Check says
WOW! I looked up “the pot calling the kettle black” in Wikipedia and it has PHIL DIRT’s last comment. But in all fairness, yeah Kathy, let it go.
Phil Dirt says
Not sure I understand this. I’m not an elected official nor a government employee, and I work for none of the companies I comment on nor their competition. Please explain your comment to me.
Phil Dirt says
The silence is deafening.
It’s so easy to throw out ridiculous accusations, but actually producing proof is much more difficult – especially when the original premise is completely inaccurate.
I wish Phil Dirt was deaf and silent. One can dream….
Phil Dirt says
I wish Watcher’s posts made sense, but some desires are simply unattainable.
Daddy Rabbit says
Watcher has never had a cogent comment. He or she or it is only sitting around looking for opportunities to demean someone else for having a thought. Phil Dirt you need to do what many of us do, ignore the poor demented soul.
If Phil Dirt had wheels, he’d be a wagon.
@Daddy Rabbit – he/she? what am I, Chaz Bono? Nice handle, by the way.
And I don’t demean people for having thoughts. Only when people like Phil chime in and seem to have an opinion on EVERYTHING. I mean, come on. You can’t expect someone with the name Phil Dirt (or is it a Southern twang like FEEL dirt?) should be taken remotely seriously? Daddy Rabbit for that matter is a little lame, too.
Am I being too demeaning again. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…
Don’t go away mad. Just go away.
@Watcher – perhaps you should go away. Evidently, you have digressed from the original premises that Phil Dirt has been establishing. No offense, but the rants about handles that people are using are rather juvenile. You sound like an adolescent whose mom accidentally put an extra cup of sugar in the Kool-Aid. And since you’re trying to decipher the meanings behind the handles that some people use, I will assist your endeavor. Instead of applying a derogatory southern twist to “Feel” Dirt’s moniker, think of it as FILL DIRT which is what you’ll have someone cover your head with after you stick it in the ground. If the reference doesn’t inspire any thought process for you, then google ostrich, emu, etc.
I guess it is similar to an elected official posting comments under a fictitious name without disclosure.
If that is true, thank you Phil for pointing it out, and I find that to be the most discouraging thing about Wegman’s I’ve ever encountered. (which is to say, almost nothing prior to this)
I am sure she would not post on behalf of the company, but to do so as a private individual on that very subject without disclosing it is very discouraging.
Not that we should even outright dismiss her comments if she is an employee, but so far none of her comments have been proven to have any merit in either case anyway.
Phil Dirt says
Noble, she’s actually mentioned and in a picture in this very article (assuming, of course, that it’s not just someone with the exact same name).
You are correct sir. I read the article so long ago it had completely escaped me. I will gladly take back my earlier comment in that regard.
But in that case, wow, just wow. So with her name in front of our faces, publically known to be an employee of the company, and she has the audacity to make the statements she made to me as a potential customer?
Clearly Wegmans hasn’t yet put everyone through the Information Technology portion of the training regimen, because that is the classic 21st century way of getting yourself fired quickly.
Good job Ms Beck. Welcome to the 21st century indeed.
If I cared that much about your mindless insults I’d actually call Wegmans and complain.
i applied for work but was not picked. Their loss. I do like the Wegmans in Hunt Valley. Don’t really know if I will shop at this store. I like Kleins and Giant. I only hope that if that was a church and people were in line at 4am THAT WOULD BE A BIG DEAL AND WORTH IT. Geesh lol
curious one says
Well. I went and was frankly impressed. LOTS of variety. Everything I tasted and bought was fresh and delicious. Prices on many of the regular items that I buy were excellent, and the rest were average. The only high prices I saw were on specialty items and labor intensive prepared foods. My hub and I had a heck of a time choosing what to have for lunch and we enjoyed it sitting in the dining area on a comfy couch in front of a fire place! I loved the handwashing station and microwaves in the dining area. They had an area set up for young children as well. Our lunch costed much less than we usually pay in a BelAir eatery and was yummers. The bathrooms were lovely and pristine despite the crowds. Everyone was polite aand personable. We enjoyed fresh made samples everywhere we went. Check out was quick and smooth and we left with a free reusable grocery tote, free basting oil, free bread and free eggs. We had great fun exploring the store but only nicked the surface. It was not our typical grocery store experience. We will shop there again and go there to eat as well.
I think the store management and the staff are to be congratulated for their fine efforts. They have raised the bar in harford County. I am sure they will be very successful.
ALEX R says
BRAC? Did you say BRAC? BRAC is the biggest non-event to hit Harford County in decades. Lots of talk, lots of internet chat, lots of Aegis coverage. Much ado about not very little to paraphrase the bard. If you don’t live or regularly drive within a mile of APG then BRAC is a very big NADA.
BRAC is a very big NADA? I understand your approach, but not your reasoning. BRAC didn’t affect me and perhaps others, like you, because the initiative of those folks coming here was not to give away free things once the last family came here. The people working there weren’t going to have a parade, and balloons, handing out a free flower to the 1st 50 cars that approached the gate. BRAC was never about hoopla and good times. Wegman’s was. That was their initiative, to draw people in and away from other local grocers. It’s called marketing and demographic studies, etc. BRAC has done what it set out to do, even at the expense of some families who did not or could not re-locate here. One simply cannot compare the impact of BRAC to that of Wegman’s and to do so is wrong on so many levels, unless the only concern is the amount of revenues brought into the county, and that still is wrong.
ALEX R says
BRAC is a very big NADA in the mind of many because, for most of us in Harford County, life does not revolve around APG and the military and the contractors and consultants that accompany them. In our every day lives we don’t give them a thought, as a group.
Those of you who came did so because you either wanted to or were compelled by circumstances to come. Personally, if I had been you, knowing what I know about Maryland’s political atmosphere and tax structure I would have tried everything I could have tried to avoid relocating to Maryland. Many did that and some were successful. For those of you who really didn’t want to come but were forced to anyway I fully understand that and sympathize with you.
When you military folks are ready to collect your pension I suppose you know that there are states that do not tax that pension. Maryland is not one of them so you will get a bonus for leaving Maryland and moving elsewhere when you retire.
In the great scheme of things Maryland is not a state that enjoys a net influx of population for many reasons. We do seem to be popular with undocumented workers.
ALEX R says
Allow me to make an overall observation. No one on this site, no one, has reported that they actually went to Wegman’s and came away disappointed.
BTW, I stopped in to a well known grocery store in downtown Bel Air last night about 6:15 to pickup an emergency item. The place was a ghost town. At least 4 check out lanes with cashiers waiting and not one person in them. I asked the cashier if it was usually this empty at 6:15. Her reply, no, just in the past week or so.
I went to Wegman’s this past Saturday. It is defintely worth it just for the produce section. They have the largest selection of any grocery store in the area. There were some fruits and vegetables that I had never even heard of. A couple weeks ago I needed some arugala for a recipe and could not find it in the four grocery stores that I went to. (WalMart, Giant, Redner’s and Safeway). Guess what Wegman’s had it.
How are the boys at Kleins likin’ this store? Yeah, they’re comparable. LOL—“sell that broom one mo’ time boys!
Ron Chapman says
Possible JC Pennys…Oh My! Would be a nice addition alongside wegmans!
wegmins is cool