“We want to have most of the things we have in all our stores, but can you have a Market Cafe that seats 300 people and serves chef-driven meals and 700 different types of produce?’’ said Jo Natale, director of media relations at Wegmans. “We haven’t quite figured that out yet.’’
The smaller stores that Wegmans and Walmart are building help extend their brands. “If you can have a Wegmans experience in a smaller footprint, people are going to dig that,’’ said Griffin.
The new East Avenue Wegmans can’t really be considered one of the smaller urban stores, at 95,000 square feet. It will be similar to the Calkins Rd. Wegmans, which is 110,000 square feet.
The East Ave. store is the last remaining Wegmans location in the City of Rochester. Wegmans has countered criticism that it abandoned the city by pointing to stores right on the border, including Lyell Ave., Ridge-Culver, and Hudson Ave.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Wegmans figure out an urban model and move back into the city? Perhaps one day downtown can get the critical mass and wealth needed to make this happen.