After years of delays, the long-awaited supermarket Wegmans opened its doors at a new location in Chapel Hill on Wednesday. The New York chain is known for its selection of organic and local foods, prepared meals and an assortment of restaurants within the store.
Not many grocery stores have fans like Wegmans does. But customers lined up more than an hour early on Wednesday to be the first through the door and celebrated the opening on social media.
Located on Fordham Boulevard, the store occupies 100,000 square feet, contains 29 registers and will eventually employ up to 450 people.
On the left side of the store, Wegmans contains a range of restaurant stations, including a pizza market, salad station, sushi and poke bowls, sandwich shop and coffee shop. It also boasts a large assortment of alcoholic beverages and even has a specialty wine room, tucked off to one side and smelling of wood like any other wine cellar.
A toy train chugs along overhead a cooler along the back wall, nestled between the floral arrangements and medicinal aisle. To some customers, it’s a spectacle and a destination as much as it is a grocery store.
Owen Conley, a UNC senior, said he found out Wegmans was hiring on an online job site and applied last December. When he graduates in the spring, Conley plans to continue working as a barista in the store.
“I've worked at other large corporations before and it feels impersonal or you don't really know your co-workers, but so far at Wegmans, I feel like it's a very familial atmosphere,” Conley said.