DC’s own Radley Balko has a great piece on Wegman’s grocery stores, now in Sterling and Fairfax, and coming to Hunt Valley, MD fairly soon. See, Wegman’s isn’t just a grocery store, and it’s not just another big box, but it’s smart shopping:
Wegmans is a grocery store, of course. So it stocks all the usual toiletries, packaged foods, spices, kitchenware, and the like we’ve come to expect from a mega-grocery. But despite its considerable high-end and hard-to-find offerings, Wegmans prices on most day-to-day goods are actually on par with or lower than its competitors. The store keeps its aisles wide, for easy cart maneuverability. It offers a holder in each cart for fresh flowers, to keep them from getting smooshed by the ice cream. It boxes up perishable items at the end of each day and sends them to local homeless shelters. The store’s seasonal magazine begins by listing areas in which the company feels it has failed, and offers solutions as to how it might do better.
But still, in an effort to crowd out large retailers that serve the community at low prices, places like Montgomery County have effectively blocked such places in an effort to bring their version of conformity to the county. Never mind that Wegman’s is Forbes’ 2005 choice for the best place to work. Of course, what they’re failing to notice is that people will drive out to Wegman’s in Fairfax or Sterling, frequently an hour trip from Montgomery County, to get there. And why not, when they’ve got low prices, better goods than the average Safeway or the truly ghetto-rific Giant, and a pleasant atmosphere. What they fail to see is the tax revenue that it would create for their community, allowing them to ease the tax burden that property taxes in a real-estate-booming area have become.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs