More than a Grocery Store

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Maybe I’m just aware that I have to go grocery shopping this afternoon, but I find myself excited to be home next week for a reason that might sound odd: I’ll have the chance to visit Wegmans. Now, of course this isn’t the only reason I’ll be happy to be home, but it’s a trend that I consistently look forward to stocking up on some treats before I leave the Rochester area!

While Wegmans might be viewed as just another grocery store, people who have the opportunity to do their weekly grocery runs there don’t realize how great they have it!

When I’m at school, I’m surrounded by Krogers, Meijers, and every once in a while a Marsh. These are pretty standard grocery stores – comparable to Tops on the east coast or the grocery section of mega-Walmarts. These neighborhood stores each have their little communities and quirks, but what leaves a consistent impression in my mind concerning Wegmans is the vast amount of community awareness and emphasis on local, healthy products.

Every time I walk in the door, it seems like I’ve got an old friend newly working at the registers. They start talking about how they love their jobs because a) they love good, fresh food b) they feel fairly worked and paid and c) they’re applying for Wegmans scholarships and bonus awards. One of those friends runs a food/recipe blog and says that she just can’t find prettier ingredients anywhere else!

But pretty doesn’t just cover it for me and my family – the shelves are gloriously stocked with a multitude of organic, sustainable, whole foods, gluten-free and/or simply good for you products that are often really difficult to find in standard grocery stores! Where I have to hunt through ingredient labels to find things I can pronounce in most stores, Wegmans almost always has what I’m looking for and a variety of forms and brands.

I mean, just the other day I found a natural hand sanitizer in the new Kroger Marketplace in my college town – which is boasting a brand new “healthy living” corner. Turns out that Wegmans has the exact same kind, in six different scents, plus two other brands. They make conscientious shopping so easy! And while one of the biggest complaints against Wegmans is the pricing, I find that most of the people I’m close to simply don’t mind paying a little extra for quality and “good-feeling” groceries.

And I haven’t even mentioned the pre-made dinner options or sit-in lunch marketplace! It’s not just about fried chicken and pizza slices: the Wegmans marketplace has burgers, seafood, pastas, soups, deli items, and a salad bar that genuinely makes me want lettuce more than candy. Usually, I see a spinach salad as an obstacle-d way to eat candied pecans. However, Wegmans produce makes me simply enjoy the entire salad.

When it’s all said and done, I don’t mean to sound like a Wegmans ad. But one thing that I love about blogging is that I have the opportunity to give recommendations and to champion the little joys that make the Finger Lakes home for me. One of those joys is being genuinely excited to visit my favorite grocery store to pick up some regional goodies to bring back to my friends. Bully Hill wines, Woodstead sauce, Nunda Mustard, and Chiavetta’s bbq marinade – here I come!

Halie Solea 2013By Halie Solea

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