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(Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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A peek inside the Timber Room, a seating area not offered in the Midlothian store. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Wegmans in Short Pump will stock more than 60,000 items. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Wegmans Midlothian saw an unusually high number of requests for sauces made in Upstate New York, so the Short Pump staff made it even easier to find the goods in the new store. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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The dining room of The Pub, the store's full-service restaurant (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Monique Seyna and Jim Roberts mix a balsamic-cherry topping found in the cheese section. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Like its Midlothian sibling store, the Short Pump Wegmans offers a full-service florist. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Every four hours, employees stop to take a stretch break that's so popular, sometimes shoppers join in on the action. Here, a small group learns the ins and outs of the company's "microstretch" regimen. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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In the wine section, a team tastes through some of the store's selection and discusses Italian terroir. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Soon, this whole aisle will be fully stocked, and probably fully packed with customers. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
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Between the outdoor patio, the indoor café seating, the Timber Room and The Pub, Short Pump Wegmans seats roughly 250. (Photo by Stephanie Breijo)
Good news for West End dwellers and/or shoppers and/or general food enthusiasts alike: Short Pump's Wegmans grocery store opens tomorrow, Sunday, Aug. 7, at 7 a.m. next to Cabela's in the West Broad Marketplace shopping center. Much like its Midlothian counterpart, which launched at the end of May, Short Pump's market megastore stocks more than 60,000 items, keeps a climate-controlled wine case, is home to The Pub, where Richmonders can enjoy a full-service restaurant and a pint of Evelyn — Wegmans' own Hardywood-brewed session IPA — and employs 550 almost-always-smiling cooks, checkers, bakers, florists, butchers and, well, you get the idea. But as similar as these two locations are, there are a few differences and bizarre facts that a visit to the new site netted:
- Wegmans Learned Just How Much Richmond Loves Beer: Midlothian's Wegmans opened with roughly 700 varieties of beer — standard for the chain's 90-ish locations — but soon learned that wasn't enough. "The demand for beer here has been even bigger than what we predicted it would be," Jo Natale, Wegmans' vice president of media relations, says on a tour. "Richmond has really taken us to school on this, I would say." To accommodate Richmonders' requests, Short Pump is opening with between 900 and 1,000 varieties of beer. To boot, Midlothian will soon expand its selection, and the company may increase its beer options in stores beyond the Richmond region. The South Side store seems to be a bit of a trendsetter; its cafe offers nitro iced coffee, which will be available in Short Pump, and that item is currently spreading to stores beyond Virginia.
- Wegmans Learned Just How Much Richmond Loves Cookies: Turns out, Midlothian is now the company's number-one cookie seller, and at any given point, its bakery churns out more than 36 varieties of cookies.
- Wegmans Welcomes You to the Lodge: Short Pump's 120,000 square feet only outsize Midlothian's store by 5,000 square feet, which isn't much comparatively, but where you'll see that extra space is in the Timber Room near the Market Café. It's a cozy, lodge-like, fireplace-donning seating area that's available in other stores, too, but not in Midlothian. With an 80-person capacity, it's a room that can be used for private events or everyday dining and lounging.The layout of the Short Pump store is flipped from that of Midlothian, but all departments are virtually the same size and design.
- Same Dish, Different Face: Though the menu of The Pub is the same, each Wegmans is headed by a separate executive chef. In Short Pump, executive chef James Orr, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will oversee The Pub and various ready-made options throughout the store.
- Wegmans Learned Just How Much Richmond Loves Hot Dogs and/or Sauces and/or Upstate New York: "We always see a demand whenever we open a store, but it was more than we expected," Natale says of select products from Upstate New York, the company's home turf. Midlothian's customers request the Rochester-, Syracuse- and Buffalo-made hot dogs, hot sauces and marinades by brand, and on opening day, one shopper went so far as to purchase every package of Zweigle's hot dogs in the store. Accordingly, Wegmans Short Pump's team has conveniently organized all of these items in one place — you'll find the dogs in an end cap of the refrigerated meat section, and the sauces sit adjacent — and made sure they're well stocked.
- Every Four Hours, You'll Hear This: "Stop and take a microstretch." This company-wide health regimen stops employees in their tracks and reminds them to limber up with a full range of exercises that include finger stretches and squats. It's so popular, Natale says, that customers familiar with the practice will even jump in on the stretching. So don't be alarmed if/when you see clusters of staff on/around the ground, and feel free to get right down there with them.
Wegmans Short Pump opens in the West Broad Marketplace shopping center on West Broad Street near North Gayton Road on Sunday, Aug. 7, at 7 a.m. and will be open 6 a.m. to midnight daily.