Alexandria Wegmans opens amid fanfare

WASHINGTON — They left the comfort of their beds early Sunday morning to come out for the grand opening of a supermarket. But this is no ordinary grocery store or shopping experience.

Some 1,800 people were standing in line for the Sunday, 7a.m. grand opening of the Alexandria Wegmans, which is situated at the corner of Telegraph Road and Beulah Street in the Hilltop Village Center.

The “Women of Wegmans” were the first in line. They got there at 3 a.m. All three women were dressed in pink polo shirts that read “Women of Wegmans” and all three wore pearls.

“We are Wegmans ambassadors”, claimed Chef Nadine, adding, “the Women of Wegmans are just wild about Wegmans. We formed our own little club.”

They take it on themselves to attend the openings — including similar events in Boston, the Philadelphia suburbs, and a re-opening of a store in Rochester, NY.

What’s special about  this Wegmans — the seventh store in Virginia —  is that it has a full-service restaurant called the “Pub.”

“It’s the first time we’ve ever opened a Pub in Virginia,” said Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for Wegmans.  “In fact, it’s the first time we’ve ever opened one outside of Pennsylvania where the concept originated in 2009.”

She says there’s an expanded selection of Hispanic and Asian food at the new Alexandria location, too, the result of market research of the area’s demographics.

Mary Carter was excited for the grand opening because it means she no longer has to drive to Woodbridge to shop at Wegmans. “Most definitely, we’ve been waiting for Wegmans for quite awhile. We’re so excited. Ah!”

Rebecca Richards and her husband Bob live in Lorton near the former prison. She too drives to the Woodbridge Wegmans to shop. She says it’s difficult trying to explain what Wegmans is like, but she tries.  “There’s no other store like this in the country,“ she said, laughing. “I love it though.” Her husband chimes in, “If they’ve never been to a Wegmans I can’t explain it.”

The new Wegmans is located at 7905 Hilltop Village Center Drive (corner of Telegraph Rd and Beulah St), Alexandria, Va 22315. The store is open daily 6 a.m. to midnight.

(Video courtesy of WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

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