Innovation and creativity are always cooking at Wegmans Food Markets.
A perusal of headlines over the last 12 months showed the Rochester, N.Y.-based retailer, among other things, reassessing the carbon footprint of its egg cartons; lending support to a mobile produce market reaching underserved communities; emphasizing completeness in data sharing between itself and suppliers; pioneering store-based beer and wine sales in Pennsylvania; helping law enforcement officials crack an organized retail theft ring in Maryland; opening a new restaurant; publishing a sales flier illustrating that its prices were falling commensurate with deflation; and stepping up its health and wellness marketing efforts, all while opening a slate of new stores, earning its regular place near the top of an annual “Best Places to Work” list and receiving a citation for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for corporate stewardship.
Considering business conditions made for a pretty rough year for food retailers, Wegmans Food Markets — led by its chief executive officer, Danny Wegman — made the best of it.
Wegmans executives queried by SN said Danny Wegman has encouraged progress on so many fronts as a means of engaging employees and fulfilling his own high standards.
“Danny’s inspiration empowers us to embrace his vision of high standards for our employees and our customers. This instills pride and loyalty that has made Wegmans a top 100 company to work for 13 years,” Jack DePeters, senior vice president of operations, said of Danny Wegman.
“Danny’s ability to engage and influence every facet of our company is incredible,” added Tom DiNardo, senior vice president of merchandising. “His never-ending pursuit is always doing the right thing for our people.”
Industry observers pointed out that Wegmans — as impressive as its stores continue to be from a standpoint of fresh presentation — proved equally adept at executing a message of value during the last year. That helped the chain continue to outperform its peers even as the industry itself wobbled under the weight of the economy.
“Wegmans continues to amaze everyone with just how good at execution they are, and how consistently they execute,” Neil Stern, senior partner at consulting firm McMillan Doolittle, Chicago, told SN.
“But the real change over the last year was a very, very aggressive program talking about value. If you go into a Wegmans store this year, besides the great perishables you expect from them, you’ll see the stores plastered with yellow signs talking about comparison shopping and value in the store and playing up consistent low prices. I don’t think they are giving an inch, not only on the quality and service they are providing but also on value.”
Danny Wegman in a written statement to SN credited a culture of working to help others as passed along by his father, Wegmans’ founder Robert Wegman.
“My Dad always believed in helping others,” he said. “We’re fortunate that this philosophy works in so many ways, whether it’s helping employees, customers, suppliers, communities or our industry. Hopefully we can continue to do this.”