Like the finest mozzarella, Wegmans has stretched its fresh power aisle at the Bridgewater, N.J., unit, and has pulled its gourmet cheese department around the corner from the rest of its fresh-foods presentation. In a new footprint that gives the profitable department more room to breathe, French morbier, German Tilsit and Leyden from Holland -- along with hundreds of other cheeses -- are presented in a smart, updated merchandising scheme.
t offers some 400 varieties of fromage -- including morbier, a veined cheese from France ($7.99/pound), the Holland Leyden ($5.99/pound), and the Havarti-like German Tilsit ($5.99/pound).
The space includes a center cutting station and work area, all of which is surrounded by a mix of multideck service cases and self-service bins. Signage throughout includes a description of the cheese's name, its country of origin and price per pound. Displays are a mix of huge whole wheels, and variable-weight chunks, wedges and bricks.
More unique varieties include Artesian cheeses ($12.99/pound) and handmade goat cheese balls ($8.99/pound), which secured a featured spot in the middle display of the service case. The bright herb- and flower-encrusted spheres were a definite eye-catcher, and a popular item, according to a department associate. Part of the demand is due to the department's ability to find new merchandising venues for the white balls. For example, the individual balls were redecorated and assembled like snowmen during the winter holidays, he said. Their edible coating on the day of SN's tour recast them in more of a springtime mode.
Non-cheese products, including butter molds, mousse, pate and tins of caviar, are also sold here. And situated across from one self-serve cheese case, a Mediterranean bar is stocked with 18 varieties of olives, olive salad and cornichons. Next to the olives is another set featuring stuffed grape leaves, roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and caperberries. All the items were selling for $6.39 a pound on the day on SN's visit.
Employees encourage shoppers to sample and learn about the products. To encourage trial, one department employee is dedicated to product demonstrations, the store official told SN.