Sallie Groff Reissman arrived at Barley Mill Wegmans at 8:45 a.m., hoping to be one of the first let in.
She was amazed to see the line of excited customers waiting in the misty weather already moving into the store.
“I thought it was at 9, but they started letting people in just a few minutes prior to me getting there,” Reissman said. “My girlfriend actually went there at 6:45 to be first in line. She said she would have had to have gotten there by 6:15 to be first.”
The forecast’s small chance of rain did little to deter the parade of Wegmans fans when the grocery chain finally opened a Delaware store.
The Rochester, New York, chain, long known in the region for its wide-ranging high-quality offerings at affordable prices including bakeries, prepared food and its own restaurant, seemed to keep teasing First State shoppers by opening locations near the state, but never in it.
That changed when Pettinaro announced in 2019 that Wegmans would be an anchor store for the developers’ reinvention of DuPont Corp.’s Barley Mill campus.
Reissman said she and her husband would frequently travel to the Downington, Pennsylvania, store, and sometimes had date night there because the food was so good.
“And, of course, you could buy a bottle of wine,” she said.
Reissman is pleased she no longer has to drive up 202 to Wegmans in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.
So were others in line. Several people posted on line that the shoppers kept coming and that it got more crowded than they expected.
Things were only started to build when Reissman arrived.
“We were just standing in line chatting. Everybody was happy,” she said. “I was chatting in line to the man behind me. His son was the executive chef (J.J. Miller). He was so proud of his son and he was coming in to see him. There were Wegmans people getting videos of the crowds, so they were equally excited.”
The 84,000-square-foot Delaware store will feature the usual staples of a grocery store along with Meals2G ready-to-cook meals; ready-to-eat salads and sandwiches; a bakery offering bread and other goods; fresh sushi; made-to-order pizza; Asian-inspired cuisine; a burger bar; a coffee shop; and its own restaurant, the Market Cafe.
It will also offer online ordering for curbside pickup up or delivery.
Since Pettinaro announced that Wegmans was coming, cult favorite Trader Joe’s and several Aldis, Lidls and other grocery stores have opened in Delaware.
Even with those riches, the Delaware Food Industry Council, which is a trade organization for grocery and drug stores, welcomes Wegmans to Delaware.
“Their expansion into Delaware is exciting for our residents,” said Julie Miro Wenger, executive director of the council. “Wegmans is a family owned business and will break into the northern Delaware market, where other family owned grocery stores are strongholds.”
The store, which will employee about 450 people, normally will be open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.
It includes indoor and outdoor seating for 120, with 557 parking spaces available.
Inside, there are 13 full-service registers, 15-self-checkout registers and 5 additional self-checkout registers in the Market Cafe.
Reissman bought sushi, sunflowers and cookies decorated like the Philly Phanatic.
“I was just surprised how in and out I got,” she said. “I didn’t get too many groceries but they had everything up and running with every staffer known to man. They probably brought them in from other Wegmans.”
The chain prides itself on offering hundreds of different fruits and vegetables on any given day, including many organic choices, some grown at its own Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard in Canandaigua, New York.
Also in the store
- Seafood delivered daily from ports on the East Coast, across the country, and around the world. The department showcases fully traceable and sustainable seafood processed without chemicals. Products are available fresh and frozen.
- Pre-marinated meats to pop in the oven or on the grill. The department also will offer organic beef, pork, chicken, bacon, sausage, and the choice of meat with no antibiotics or added hormones. Wegmans Angus beef raised regionallyand a dry-aging case will be featured in Wilmington.
- Artisan-style breads and rolls, featuring whole grain options, items made with organic ingredients, and grains grown near our stores. Other offerings include cookies baked fresh throughout the day, breakfast pastries, decorated cakes, cupcakes, specialty desserts, donuts, muffins, and bagels.
- Traditional deli meats and cheeses, cured specialty meats, and dry sausage products, including 24-month Prosciutto di Parma from Italy and 100% Iberico de Bellota imported from Spain.
- Specialty and artisan cheeses produced domestically or imported from around the world. The temperature and humidity-controlled affinage case offers premium cheeses aged in the Wegmans Cheese Caves.
- Pre-packaged Mediterranean options include varieties like imported and domestic olives, fresh mozzarella, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers, and antipasti.
- A wide selection of Latino and Asian foods, as well as Indian, Korean, Caribbean, South American, British, German, and Italian cuisine.
The view inside Wegmans
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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