Wegmans Food Market’s first New England store at Routes 9 and 20 in Northborough, Massachusetts opened Sunday, October 16. At 138,000 square feet, the Northborough store offers 70,000 products – about twice the average number for traditional grocery stores, according to industry figures.
Yet its one-of-a-kind look is meant to telegraph a warm, welcoming feeling that’s almost cozy. ”As you approach the store,” says Corinne Chiogna, who headed Wegmans’ design team’s effort, “there’s a rooster-themed weathervane atop a cupola in the center of a gabled roof. It’s a reminder of food’s roots in agriculture. The stonework on the face of the building, the diagonal bracing, and soft neutral colors with red accents on the roof make you think of a barn in the countryside. We chose traditional rather than trendy themes because we wanted everyone to feel comfortable in this space.”
Rural landscapes are echoed indoors, too, but with light, fun touches. As one enters the store, a hand-painted mural over the Coffee Bar is a rendering of Wegmans’ Organic Farm located on the edge of Canandaigua Lake, in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region. Every half hour, the barn door in the mural opens, the sun lights up, and a crowing rooster pops out of the three-dimensional barn anchored in the mural.
As shoppers move through the store, they’ll have a sense of visiting different shops, as one would in a European village. Each has eye-popping displays of abundance, like the racks in the Charcuterie hung heavy with Jamon Iberico de Bellota ham from Spain, smoke-scented Speck hams from Germany, and silky Prosciutto di Parma hams from Italy.
“Think of it as being an adventure,” store manager Kevin Russell suggests. “It’s a lot to take in all at once, but our people are trained to help each step of the way, from finding exactly want you want, to answering questions like ‘tell me an easy way to prepare tilapia that my family will love.’”