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Wegmans East FeaturedThe East Avenue Wegmans is “my” Wegmans. Its closure for the next few months to make way for an expanded store will be a big pain, but it’s not the end of the world.

As I saw the news headlines and laments on Twitter, I wondered why the fact it’s shutting down for a while is such a big deal. No one paid as much attention around here to the permanent closure of other Wegmans stores (Britton Rd.) or the arrival of new ones (Calkins).

I think East Ave. got a ton of attention because a lot of reporters and young people live close to the store. In addition, the design of the new facility took forever to get approved by the city. It’s not often we witness Wegmans expanding a store. It’s located on a heavily trafficked corridor. It’s also cool to see pictures of bare Wegmans shelves.

I think the biggest reason the East Ave. Wegmans transformation has captured our attention is it’s the only Wegmans left in the city. That makes it the most convenient Wegmans for a lot of people, including me. I don’t even think it’s that convenient, as it’s four miles away.

But if you love Wegmans and live downtown, East Ave. is “your store.” The next closest store is Lyell Ave. which is 5 miles away. Marketplace and Hudson-Titus store are both 5.5 miles away.  I realize it’s not terrible to have to drive a little further to get to Wegmans. I’m super-happy Wegmans is reinvesting in its last remaining city store (even if it does look like a giant wall on Winton). But I miss the days when there were Wegmans all over the city. Driving Park was “my” store growing up. Mt. Hope would be “my” store today.

East Ave. the only store “we” have left.


Links of the Day:

– Six of the nine Best Picture nominees used Kodak film, which is made in Rochester.

– A suburban Rochester neighborhood deliberately planned to have a diverse mix of residents.

– Wall Therapy is gearing up for its third year painting murals around Rochester.

– Not a single Grandstand act has been booked yet for this summer’s New York State Fair, after scandal prompted a leadership change.

– The state slimed a government official who claimed he was fired for not getting permission to speak to the press. Meanwhile, the DEC has a ridiculously restrictive press policy.

– In Albany area, farmers and suburbanites clash over a way of life.

– Need a nosh? The Jewish deli is on the decline.

13 Responses to Only One Left

  1. “I think East Ave. got a ton of attention because a lot of reporters and young people live close to the store”
    Exactly “its the cool Wegmans” for the “in crowd”.

    Its the same thing on a national scale with reporters and news outlets. A snow storm (or what ever) that effects NYC with say 8 inches of snow gets far more coverage and remote reporters out side etc, than a 14 inch storm in Chicago or 40 inch snows in the mid west.

    “They” decide what gets covered, what doesn’t, whats news, what isn’t. Who’s cool who isn’t. In the end its called censorship. And on a national scale it creates a divide in the country. With NYC DC and LA the most important (in their mind) and the rest of the US now dubbed the “fly over” part.

    The media makes the news by what they elect to report on. Or who they want to make a star. Sometimes they have no choice but many or most of the time, they NEWS executives make the news by what they deemed worth to report on.

  2. So your Wegmans store is four miles away, which means an eight mile round trip to buy a loaf or bread or a gallon of milk.

    I thought city living was supposed to be environmentally-friendly?

    Living within walking distance of Wegmans, Tops, Walgreens and more here in the suburbs, I guess I just don’t get the appeal of “city living.”

    • Animule, as someone who works at The East Ave Wegmans and has worked at three other stores, I can say that we have more walkers, cyclists, and bus riders than any other store by a VERY, VERY, large amount. I have up to 20 co-workers that commute by bike in the warmer months and about 5 of us that do it year round. We have bus service every 15-20 minutes during weekdays. When I worked at the penfield store, there were about 5 buses a day. The #1 is one of the most convenient lines in the city, we have many customers taking the bus from lake ave.

      Rachel is saying that it’s 4 miles from downtown, but there is a very dense population within walking distance. We do, however, NEED a grocery store in the inner-loop.

      City living is much more environmentally friendly. Not just because of transportation, but because of smaller living spaces, shared utilities, less infrastructure per person, and obviously the saving of the country side from turning what was once the beautiful open fields along Jefferson road to what it is now.

      If every East Ave. shopper drove a car, we would need a parking lot twice the size of the new one we will have. At Penfield, I would say around 95% arrived by car. Pittsford was actually a little better because of more frequent bus service. Hudson-Titus was even better with bus service and even some cyclists. East Ave. is probably more like 65-70% car-drivers, Not great but a very significant difference from the three others. Percentages are based on my observational estimates, don’t ask for a source.

      Also, there are places to get bread and milk downtown. Metro-market on Main Street for instance. Hours and quality just aren’t that great. But, it can be done. North Clinton/Upperfalls Tops is also just north of the inner loop. South Wedge has some walkable grocery spots, but hours and selection are limited and it’s quite expensive.

      Honestly I think Pitts Trader Joes, should have gone on that huge vacant lot next to Time Warner on Mt. Hope. The city calls it a park, but it’s a vacant lot.

      • Zack, please think of the fate of the polar bears. Traveling eight miles every time you need a cup of flour over time releases millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air that melt ice floes and end up drowing the poor polar bears as they hunt for seals to eat. I grieve for the polar bears.

        As to your statement “city living is much more environmentally friendly” this is categorically false, not to mention the fact that it is a dangling comparison. I live in the suburbs, and I am much closer to the amenities needed for daily living than Rachel is. And the same was true when I grew up in a small village where we were a tenth of a mile from the town’s major supermarket. This arrogant view that “city living” is superior to any other living choice is categorically false, and the ecological load of any particular living choice can vary. You CAN live in the suburbs, and live in an enviornmentally-friendly way, just as you can live in the city and live in a resource-wasting way.

    • February 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I put only 8k miles on my car last year… City living is sustainable even if you have to drive 4 miles to the grocery store. Being centrally located makes a lot of sense for me.

    • March 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm SchuylerK responds:

      Maybe she bikes?

  3. I also notice, now that I do not live where there is a Wegmans, the heavy emphasis on selling non-food items. Or as I call them: Junk. It just seems like the Walmarting of Wegmans is happening.
    They’ll lose the ability to act like a small town family business as the economies of scale – both economic and philosophical – take their toll on quality and service. Because of their transitioning into a regional, if not national, marketplace Wegmans cannot/will not be flexible with their store model or who their target demographic is.
    They could make money on the small stores in the city but they could not hold the amount of food and junk the new mega stores could and they could not be configured like the larger new stores.
    The Pond Street Wegmans in Syracuse was my go-to stop for big cans of coffee and other W staples when I would visit family back home. I noticed that they were trying to incorporate the new setup and layout but the old store just wasn’t big enough. I wondered to my wife “how much longer will this store stay open?” Not because there were no people shopping there – there were plenty – but because, after seeing what happened with Rochester’s city Wegmans I knew it was not in line with the new direction the company was taking. Sure enough, a month or two later the closing of the Pond Street store was announced. Some months after that, Tops reopened the building.
    I wonder about the Fairport area Wegmans and the James Street store in Syracuse. They are also not in line with the new store model and will have to be replaced sooner than later. Funny thing is that the Country Club Plaza store may be considered an historic building at this point because of its funky folding, plate-looking roof and its “retro” signage.

  4. February 24, 2013 at 10:39 am Derek Sanderson responds:

    I know I’m probably an exception, but I won’t miss the old store. I found it too cramped and too crowded and I hated the parking. I’m looking forward to the newer, bigger store. By the way, I think it is a big improvement, in terms of how the exterior looks! Glad Wegmans was able to get this done!

  5. I think it depends on what you mean by “suburbs.” My parents live in what is considered a “suburb” of Utica, yet is actually a small, walkable village built in the mid-19th century. (Yes, they have a large grocery store most residents can walk or bike to.) Some larger cities have inner-ring suburbs that actually look a lot like Park Ave and the South Wedge and offer many of the same advantages of city living. When I think of the environmentally unsustainable suburb, I picture massive developments of oversized cookie-cutter houses located miles away from the vast stretches of strip malls and big box stores that service them.

  6. February 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm Jason Haremza responds:

    We need to move beyond the tiresome “city=environmental good” “suburb= environmental bad” argument. It should be framed as “auto-oriented” versus “walkable.” There are walkable areas of the suburbs and auto-oriented parts of the city.

  7. February 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm Nameless Peon responds:

    For those who care – a *hopefully* complete list of Wegmans City stores closed in the past 30 years. Kinda sad to see how many there were.
    West Ave
    Driving Park
    Mt Hope
    Brooks Chili

    Not sure if the store on Scottsville Road was in the city

  8. Rachel – I think 8K miles is a lot for you. What I know is your a reporter and likely don’t drive your own car rather the stations car for a story. I believe you don’t have children.

    Get a job where you drive your own car for work and have children and put two kids in sports, drive to see grand parents and other relatives, your 8K will easily grow to 20 to 30K miles a year. No matter where you live.

    If you lived near the station in Henrietta say off Caukins rd near Wegmans. health clubs and Marketplace, you might only put 4k miles on.

    You might enjoy city living, thats your choice. It may not be the lowest car mile lifestyle for you. Just as city living is not or would not be the lowest car mile alternative for many people. Or the number of miles saved would be minimal compared to miles driven.

    Some people like the burbs for 100s of reasons. Some people like to drive, to camp, ski, travel what have you. And the auto companies and oil companies- the back bone of our economic engine love them for it. They are not villains or stupid, or don’t care about the environment

  9. As a general rule living in more densely populated areas is correlated with a lower individual environmental impact.

    As a general rule more densely populated areas are correlated with a higher crime rate.

    There are of course exceptions to these trends for particular circumstances that advocates and partisans are quick to jump on for their own reasons. There is however no exception to one rule. Living in a densely populated area, regardless of political boundaries, is neither positively or negatively correlated with moral superiority.

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