On June 2, the Planning Board viewed a presentation from Wegmans Food Markets, a high-end grocery chain interested in opening a new store in Burlington on Third Avenue. The company is seeking to build a 140,000 square foot facility with an adjacent parking structure that will accommodate 825 vehicles. The Market Basket store in Burlington, which opened in December 2010, is a 97,000 square foot facility.
Todd Fremont-Smith of Nordblom Company was enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing Wegmans to the property owned by Nordblom.
“This is one of the hottest companies - the prettiest girl at the dance,” he quipped. “Other developments would give their eye teeth to have this anchor. This store will help us attract better quality restaurants and retail users."
Wegmans is a family owned and operated business which opened its doors in 1916. The grocery powerhouse now boasts 78 stores in 5 states and employs over 40,000 people. If plans progress as Wegmans hopes, the Burlington store will employ 600 people. Of those, 150 will be full time employees and the rest will be part time workers.
According to Jeanne Colleluori, spokesperson for Wegmans, the company has been on Fortune’s list of Top 100 Companies to Work For every year since the list was conceived fourteen years ago. The company is currently ranked #3 in the nation.
Colleluori explained that the company opens 2-3 stores each year and location is a key consideration. The facilities are large and require abundant parking so the company looks for locations with ample space. In addition, said Colleluori, access to major roadways is a must to accommodate employees, customers and deliveries.
Colleluori said that Wegmans offers a wide variety of products to serve a wide variety of customers.
“We offer families economical ways to get high quality foods. We have specialty offerings for “foodies” and prepared foods for working parents who don’t always have time to cook,” added Colleluori.
Wegmans puts a strong emphasis on customer service explained Colleluori. Employees will undergo rigorous training for months prior to the store’s opening.
“For example, employees in our seafood department attend our Seafood University. They learn about seafood, how it is caught, where it comes from, cooking techniques and nutritional information,” said Colleluori.
Although the permitting process is in its infancy stage, the Planning Board members appeared receptive.
“It’s a very impressive presentation,” said Chair Paul Roth. “We look forward to the discussion.”