I just went to Wegmans for the first time and now I see why the grocery chain has such a cult, Business Insider | LIMITED TIME OFFER !

Irene's face when entering Wegmans for the first time.

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Irene's face as she entered Wegmans for the first time.
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Shoshy Cement / Business Insider
  • Wegmans, a family-owned grocery chain located on the east coast, is one of the most loyal retail businesses. Fans are moving from afar to attend the opening of the grocery chain stores. According to The Harris Poll, Wegmans was the most popular brand of this year.
  • Being from the Pacific Northwest, I had never visited a Wegmans store or even heard of the chain.
  • After the opening of the Wegmans 101st store in New York, I accompanied Shoshy Ciment of Business Insider for snacks and discover the interest of all this hype.
  • I am now a Wegmaniac (uncertified). Everything about my visit was amazing, from the quality to the quantity of products, the variety and the profitability of the products, to the kindness of the employees.
  • Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.

"What's so good at Wegmans?", I already asked a colleague. I was immediately shocked and even a hint of disgust.

Apparently, Wegmans is the kind of grocery store that inspires so devoted fans that they will come from far away states just for a store opening. Owned by the Wegman family of Rochester, New York, Wegmans is one of the most popular brands in America, even though it is a regional chain.

But, from the Pacific Northwest, I had never even heard of Wegmans before the opening of the Brooklyn, New York, store that sparked a frenzy on social media. And even then, I did not understand the buzz. After all, is not Wegmans just a grocery store? And while grocery stores are certainly not all equal, I could not imagine how a grocery could inspire the kind of fervor and loyalty I saw from Wegmans fans.

I partnered with Shoshy Ciment Business Insider on a trip to Brooklyn Wegmans, and I was wrong.


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Fighting the wind and the rain, we walked from downtown Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Wegmans. Upon entering, we were greeted by a spacious and impeccable product section.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The product was colorful, fresh and stacked high. The panels contained cute and intimate descriptions that brought the flavors of each item to life.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I was amazed not only by the beauty of the food, but also by the variety of each section. The products offered range from affordable versions of everyday life to local, organic products of exceptional quality.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It looked like shopping on a high-end market, except that prices were much lower than expected.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The products were also creatively presented, which inspired my inner boss. Each type of article had its home and each house had its own personality.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

A note for the context: I am really excited about the products, especially the ones I saw at Wegmans: colorful, consistent and well organized.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, we were there to grab some snacks, so we passed the product section. I was stunned by this set of fresh flowers.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Approaching the bottom of the store, I heard a little roaring sound.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was a toy train with little Wegmans wagons! A compact, shiny track surrounded the dairy sections and plants.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was every product that a millennium could wish for, such as this "Winter Health Essentials" stand …

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

… and this extensive collection of Wegmans brand kombucha.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

A Wegmans employee gave samples on the screen. I tried the kombucha with mint lemonade and I was impressed by its light and fruity flavor.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was a whole section full of different brands and flavors of hummus, including …

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

… Wegmans own hummus brand.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And even though I knew Wegmans was selling Impossible Burger land, I was delighted to see them on a shelf with their herbal protein mates, Beyond Burger and Tofu.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

A book of packaged impossible designs costs $ 9, so they are more a fool than an affordable everyday purchase.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But other parts of the store had the impression of serving customers better everyday. The display of high shelves full of merchandise evoked the aisles of my favorite warehouse store, Costco.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Wegmans had homemade versions of basic products like ketchup, coffee and cake mixes.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There were even "Cheerios" brand Wegmans. The Wegmans version was made with a blend of legumes for extra nutrition.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But there was also a remarkably complete selection of all sorts of branded cereals that a child could imagine for a Saturday morning filled with cartoons.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

When we entered the bulk goods department, I felt like a kid in a candy store …

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

… and not just because of all the candy.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I mean, there was a lot of candy. And it was only $ 5 a pound!

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

We crossed the Wegmans toy train again. I later learned from a colleague that toy trains were an iconic feature of the Wegmans brand, although not all stores have them.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Shoshy stopped by the fridge of orange juice and milk to grab a bottle of Wegmans brand orange juice.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

But there was another whole milk refrigerator filled with Darigold milk and oatmeal – an excellent example of how Wegmans has something for virtually all dietary restrictions.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

In the "Italian" section, there were cauliflower gnocchi for people on a keto diet, as well as all kinds of pasta imaginable – all Wegmans brands, of course.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was also an important kosher section that Shoshy was excited to see.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

However, she pointed out that everything in the section was not actually kosher, like these meat products from the National Hebrew.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I made the mistake of assuming that this presentation to the countryside was the breadth of Wegmans cheese section.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The cheese section was larger than most New York apartments, and much of it was also Wegmans brand cheese.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And it was not just cheddar and Swiss. There was Wegmans brie, Wegmans goat, Wegmans blue cheese and many others. I had never even heard of manchego, but apparently it is a sheep's milk cheese made in La Mancha, Spain.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was not a quixotic trip, but it was still a dream. I was stunned by this gorgeous crate filled with fresh oysters, all sourced from local family farms.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

When we entered the prepared foods section, I stopped to taste some freshly baked pork. It was delicious. The employee who handed me the sample was very kind, like everyone at Wegmans.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

My jaw dropped again when we entered the prepared foods section.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The deli deal was packed with delicious-looking dishes such as latkes, lamb shanks with rosemary and sticky ribs.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

These sumptuous and massive plates of food reminded Shoshy of the feast in one of the first scenes of the animated film "Spirited Away".

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

We went to the soup bar, which offers five types of soup. We also had a look at the sushi bar, which, as I discovered afterwards, is more of a restaurant quality.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The sushi was not cheap – the more expensive boxes cost $ 22 – but they were remarkably fresh, generous and well made. Shoshy said many of the Wegmans fans she had talked to on opening day mentioned sushi as one of their favorite things about the store.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

There was also a bespoke salad bar, a custom burger post and a chicken wing bar.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The only section I found dull was the Asian section, which looked like a less appealing version of a Panda Express buffet.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The "Authentic Italian Pizza" counter sells pizza slices, but it also offers freshly made personalized pies in three sizes, including personal ones.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

He also sold a variety of pizzas to the slice. I ended up buying as much food as Shoshy and I could carry. But it's a story for another day.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Our visit to Wegmans had been a dreamlike escape from the noise, chaos and rudeness of the city. Wegmans is an imaginary country where all products are fresh, everyone is friendly, everything is affordable and all the products you might want or need can live together in a kaleidoscopic harmony.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

At the end of our trip, I complained that there were no Wegmans near my home. After a single visit, I already felt connected to the store and its employees. And sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Visual Features Colleague Shoshy Cement provided additional photos and stories to this story.

I just went to Wegmans for the first time and now I see why the grocery chain has such a cult, Business Insider | LIMITED TIME OFFER !
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