A live lobster tank. A full-service sit-down restaurant. A children’s play area with movies on rotation. An extensive wine and craft beer selection.
These are just some of the things that shoppers will be oohing and ahhing over when the area’s first Wegmans grocery store opens its doors Sunday morning.
The 115,000-square-foot store in the brand new Stonehenge Village retail development on Midlothian Turnpike is the first of two Wegmans opening in Richmond this year. The other, in the West Broad Marketplace development in Short Pump, is slated to open Aug. 7.
That’s in addition to stores in Charlottesville and Maryland that the Rochester, New York-based grocery chain is opening this year as it marks its 100th year in business.
The Midlothian store alone has hired 450 local employees from 12,000 applications received for the Richmond stores.
On Thursday, many of those employees were at work within the Midlothian store, breaking away for a moment for a company pep rally to celebrate the opening and learn a company cheer.
Store manager Jerry Shelly, who led Thursday’s rally, described the stores as a one-stop-shop destination.
“When you come in here, you realize you can get everything you need,” he said. “It’s all under one roof.”
Highlights include a fine wine room, a coffee shop, a homemade cookie station, salad and hot food bars, sushi made on site, ready-to-cook prepared meals and food-to-go options, a trail mix station, international foods, a Mediterranean bar, and a cheese shop with a fog-like misting display case.
Wegmans adds to a crowded Richmond grocery market, which is changing with the pending sales of area Martin’s locations, due to its parent company’s merger with the owner of Food Lion, while Florida-based Publix is likewise entering the local market.
Shelly acknowledged the crowded market and the lingering reputation of local grocery chain Ukrop’s, which sold to Martin’s parent company in 2010. He said Jim and Bobby Ukrop visited the Midlothian store this week, and he said the store will be carrying several Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods items.
“We knew that void existed,” division manager Bob Farr added. “The good thing is we have a lot of Ukrop’s employees who are working here now.”
The Midlothian store opens at 7 a.m. Sunday.