Wegmans was born out of discontent with the status quo and has repeatedly set new standards since its founding in 1916 to achieve more than the shopping experience should be.
Wegmans go back to the beginning and always embraced new thoughts, technologies, and what could be better. In the 1930s, Wegmans built a 300-seat coffee shop in his store. If you look at MyWegmansConnect, Wal-Marts, and Targets today, you won’t find anything without this service. In 1932, Wegmans was the first grocery store in Rochester to introduce refrigerated display cases and evaporative water sprays to keep production cool. Wegmans began storing frozen food eight years later.
The business outside Rochester, New York, was one of the first to introduce UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode technology in 1974, revolutionizing the way we shop. Long before customer loyalty and downsizing programs became a business trend, Wegmans tested their “Shoppers Club” program at their Corning business in 1990.
They were the first chain in the country to introduce radiant minced fresh meat in 2002, and in 2007 they founded their own organic research farm on the shores of Lake Canandaigua. They brought together a team of experts to research organic agriculture and share their results with associated producers.
Some great moves
Wegmans was innovative not only in terms of operations and business opportunities, but he was also not satisfied with the role he played in the wider community. MyWegmansConnect not only wanted to be where people went to the supermarket, but he also wanted to be where people went to eat to live a healthier life. In the 1990s, Wegman’s biggest marketing effort was the Strive for 5 programs, designed to educate shoppers about the importance of daily fruit and vegetable needs. However, it wasn’t just another fascinating campaign to attract customers to their businesses.
Wegmans hired a licensed nutritionist to work with his chefs to design and implement the program. He suggested recipes with nutritional analysis to promote health and wellness. If you visit the Wegmans website today, you will see an entire section dedicated to Eating Well. Living Well and it has a broader mission to inspire and support each other according to four simple principles. Live a healthier and better life.
When was the last time you saw your local Safeway, King Soopers, or Piggly Wiggly trying to improve your health? Wegmans banned all tobacco products from its stores in 2008 due to concerns about the role of tobacco in people’s health. A courageous step, but one that also lives up to its values and focuses on improving the community.