HIYA loves! The above picture has nothing to do with this post but he’s just too darn cute. I figured if you are someone who, like me, slightly dreads Sundays because they signal the end of the weekend then you could use a
ridiculous pick-me-up. 🙂
So today was the epic, long-awaited grand opening of the Northborough Wegmans. For those who are unfamiliar with Wegmans, it is like a Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Stop & Shop/International Food Shoppe/BJs/etc conglomeration. I had no clue what the big deal was until I received their first mailer back in September and was immediately swept up Wegmans mania! The prices are low, the Club Pack (bulk) items are huge, their Nature’s Marketplace is like a mini Whole Foods in the middle of the larger store, and their produce section includes specialties from all over the world. <– Not sure how I feel about that.
Last year I remember hearing about it but I wasn’t supposed to still be in the area. I now like to joke that the whole reason my former plans (emphasis on the FORMER, for now at least) didn’t work out is so I could have the Wegmans Experience.
And boy did I ever!
Beau and I got up at 5:15 after about 3 hours of sleep and hurriedly got ready. We left at 5:45, got some Dunks, and flew down Rt 9 (all green lights) to be standing in line at 6:00 sharp. <– I think I want to drive Rt. 9 at random hours all the time!
We did the Wegmans’ cheer, I sang and danced and skipped, made new friends, and impressed the longtime fans with my enthusiasm. 😉 They also provided free goodies (donut holes, muffins, carbonated juice, etc) to those of us who were waiting. And there were lots of us. The first people arrived at 5pm the night before and by the time the sun was up and the store opened, the line was probably a mile long from end to end.
The energy, excitement. and enthusiasm were incredible. There were people from all over New England,including a group of RIT alums who drove down in a Wegabago!, as well as other locations (VA, NJ, and PA) where Wegmans has stores. Its a bit weird to think about now that I’m out of that atmosphere because, after all, “Its just a grocery store” but in the moment, with the employees, many of whom transplanted their lives either permanently or temporarily to make this store a reality, and the fans, it made perfect, undeniable sense.
Love was palpable in the air.
So how was it?!
All-in-all, I liked it! After shopping at smaller marketplaces for the past year plus, it was a bit overwhelming since I rarely go into a supermarket anymore, never mind one that is the size of two football fields! The crowds didn’t bother me–after all, I’m a seasoned Black Friday shopper–but holy bright lights…and selection…and size. *Whew*
The thing I loved the most was the organic bulk baby spinach, available for $3.49/lb!!!! Super cheap and a great resource for someone like me who drinks a green smoothie at least 5x/week. Due to recent budget restrictions (silly medical bills), I’ve had to stop buying organic baby spinach but I can indulge again, guilt-free!
They also have a ton of amazing products including Flax Milk, Mary’s Pretzels, and Kefir ice cream. I’m excited to try some new things, especially since they are pretty generous with their coupons! For example, today I received Basting Oil, a shopping bag, tissues, and paper towels completely free, plus had coupons for $1.00 off my purchases in the Natural Foods and HBC departments.
And then there is the liquor section. $6 wines, sale beers, and liquor galore, including some of the bourbons that Beau and I had the chance to test at Friday’s Bourbon Society kick-off event.
Nevertheless, there were definitely some disappointments. For one, Beau couldn’t enjoy most of the samples and any of the prepared food (except for sushi) because there are no nut-free designated preparation areas. It boggles my mind that in this day and age places, especially ones with an amazing reputation for catering to individuals on alternative diets, still process their foods on the same machines as peanuts, tree nuts, etc. I understand the logistics and economics behind it but it saddens me (admittedly for both selfless and selfish reasons) that it is so restricting and hazardous for so many people.
Secondly, the bulk bins selection was super limited. No beans, baking goods, carob,etc. The grain selection was minimal too. 😦 I was super-excited for this part of the store because I hoped I would be able to get chia, nooch, unsweetened coconut, beans, grains, and, most importantly, carob-covered almonds at a premium price. I also had hoped they would have bulk liquids, but no go. This wasn’t a super disappointment though because I currently know of exactly two places, Bulk Barn in Canada and Glut Food Co-op in Dc, that offer them. But it would have been nice.
Finally, as I mentioned above, I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “we have specialties from around the world.” Its definitely unique and a selling point but a big part of my moving away from shopping at supermarkets was to focus on local stores/produce and to shop seasonally. I love eating with the seasons because it means that I have a reason to dance in the store when the first [insert produce here] of the season comes out. It also means that I’m my part, or at least some of it, to decrease my carbon footprint and vote with my dollars. No one can deny that supermarkets have truly changed our society, creating demand where the formerly was none and offering products when they shouldn’t be available, and some, myself included, would agree it has not been for the better. The supermarket industry is still that–an industry, and one that is supporting the devastation of our environment and our health. Many will disagree and tell me that Wegman’s is different, and I’ve certainly make that argument for TJs, and maybe it is. But I still have to get over that whole supermarket thing.
I think the bulk spinach might help a little with that…
Yoga, beauty, life,