WOODBRIDGE, N.J. — The Wegmans Food Market here is reorganizing Center Store to accommodate a contiguous wine shop set to open in April. The beer, wine and liquor store will inhabit space equal in length to about eight aisles formerly occupied by frozen foods, according to reports.
JWG Fine Wine and Spirits Inc., controlled by Wegman family member Joan Wegman Goldberg, will operate the shop. Access will be limited to an outside entrance. Wegmans sought to build the wine shop within the food store, but a township ordinance barring liquor sales in supermarkets compromised its plan.
Wegmans also met resistance from the New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance, which charges Wegmans is using family members to evade the state’s liquor license limit of two per entity. Goldberg is the sister of Wegmans Chief Executive Officer Danny Wegman and daughter of the Rochester, N.Y.-based retailer’s late founder, Robert Wegman.
The NJLSA attempted to block a license transfer from former holder JSW LLC, which is owned by Danny Wegman’s son-in-law, Jason Wehle, to Goldberg’s JWG, but was unsuccessful. JWG operates a wine shop beside a Wegmans store in Manalapan, N.J.
“Wegmans has successfully circumvented the two license limitation law with the help of family members,” said Paul Santelle, president of the NJLSA and owner of Garden State Discount Liquors in nearby Perth Amboy. “They’ve been doing it all over the state and they’re hurting scores of businesses.”
Wehle holds licenses for the stand-alone Wegmans Wine, Liquor and Beer, near its Cherry Hill supermarket, and leases space within Wegmans' Mount Laurel store, according to reports. An independently owned wine shop shares an internal passageway with Wegmans’ Ocean, N.J., store.