Wegmans: The Grand Opening
For northerners, Wegmans is a household name. Synonymous with Disney World, Wegmans grocery stores are a staple to northern life. So, coming from a Rochester family, we were among the three thousand people who stood outside for the Raleigh grand opening on September 29, 2019.
The first Wegmans opened in 1916 in Rochester, New York. Since then, the grocery store chain has won numerous awards for best customer service, the cheapest prices, and all-around experience.
The morning of the Raleigh Wegmans’s grand opening, I woke up at 6 AM to make the 7 AM opening. Upon arrival to the store, cars were parked in the middle of the road, and every parking spot was taken. Over the hill, I could see a line of hundreds of people wrapped around the building- twice. Multiple news trucks were waiting outside the doors.
As I stood in line, waiting for the store to open, I overheard other people talking about what Wegmans meant to them. I spotted many Wegmans shirts in the crowd, Buffalo Bills jerseys, any shirts that signified northern residence. It was only 7:00 on a Sunday morning, but there was an energy in front of the store that was indescribable.
Upon entry, it made sense that the Raleigh store had the largest grand opening of all ninety-nine stores in the country.
According to ABC 11, there were over 30,000 people there on Sunday alone.
Getting through just one aisle was a long chore. Lines for the coffee stand, the sub shop, and the sushi shop was wrapped around twofold. News cameras and crews were perched by doors and around the store. People were yelling in excitement, showing off their Wegmans shirts and shouting things like, “We love you, Danny!” in honor of the founder.
“We knew there was a lot of excitement, but the outpouring we saw yesterday was beyond anything we could’ve hoped for,” Wegmans Store Manager Hallie Johnston told the Durham Herald Sun.
There have been mixed reviews on the new store opening, but most are good. When bringing up Wegmans at his work, Gabe Wical received different responses.
“One told me, ‘it’s just a grocery store’,” he said.
Gracie Treichler, a Buffalo native, was as excited as anyone for the grand opening.
“For me personally, it brought something unique from Buffalo to North Carolina,” she says. “It also gives the opportunity to show North Carolina people how nice people are from up north.”
Next year, another Wegmans is opening in Cary on Davis Drive, along with four other ones coming to central NC in the future.