Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Local Grocery Updates . . . Bottom Dollar, Whole Foods & Wegmans

Here are a few local grocery store updates that some may find of interest:

Bottom Line on Bottom Dollar Coming to Chesterbrook . . . probably not. The Wachovia Chesterbrook branch employees follow Community Matters. Last week when I was in the bank, they asked me for an update on Genuardi’s; thinking that the Bottom Dollar grocery chain should be underway with site improvements. I walked around Genuardi’s peering in the windows and as far as I could tell, there had been no movement. So I called Bottom Dollar corporate headquarters in North Caroline and have had email exchanges and phone conversations with their corporate media person. Turns out, that they cannot comment on locations that do not have signed leases!

Recalling that Centro was advertising a signed 5-yr signed lease with Bottom Dollar I tracked down Centro’s leasing agent for Chesterbrook. First, he tells me that the Genuardi’s space is ‘available’ but when questioned further re Bottom Dollar; he tells me that they are ‘close to signing’. I called my contact back at Bottom Dollar, gave her an update on the conversation and explained that Centro’s website has two pdfs on the layout of the Chesterbrook Shopping Center, one claiming the grocery store space is available and the other map indicating it is leased to ‘Bottom Dollar’. The Bottom Dollar representative asked me to email her the link and information (which I did) – there is no lease with Centro.

Bottom Line on Bottom Dollar . . . there is no signed lease and I do not believe that Bottom Dollar is coming to Chesterbrook! At least, not anytime soon.

Alcohol coming to Devon’s Whole Foods. Looks like in the near future you will be able to have a glass of chardonnay with your organic salad at Whole Foods. The Devon location has received a liquor license, apparently purchased the license from the old Dillion’s Restaurant in Chesterbrook. According to the shopping center owner, Whole Foods is not going to make a Wegmans pub-like setting but rather just a café with wine and beer. No talk of selling wine or beer to-go either. I know that liquor license cost mega-dollars, so you would think they would have loftier ideas, especially with store expansion plans in to the Honey Baked Ham area. But remember, there is a PA State store located in that small shopping center.

Wegmans continues to bring me happiness. I love that Wegmans is always trying something new; a few Friday nights ago, there had a blues band in the Pub!

Although in place for a few months, I am intrigued by Wegmans automated wine kiosks. Yes, if you decide to eat in Wegmans café, you can get a glass of wine from a vending machine just as you would get a soda. To purchase wine at the machines, customers must scan their driver’s licenses (or comparable state identification) to show they are 21 or older. Oh, and I discovered the average price tag for a wine vending machine is $100K . . . life is good for Mr. Wegmans!

I try to avoid Wegmans at lunchtime so I cannot speak to the popularity of the wine machine. Although wine coming from a vending machine fascinates me, it rather reminds me of drinking ‘box wine’. By no means, am I a wine snob but guess I prefer to see my wine poured from a bottle.

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  1. there are also rumors of a Giant being built at the old Anro property on Rt 30 in Easttown.

    K-mart is also going to be closing stores across the country. I am not sure how well the devon k-mart does, but if that closes, I think the devon Acme would suffer, and they are already closing the Wayne Acme.

    1. CJ – I don’t think the Strafford/Devon Acme is going anywhere; the went to the Planning Commission a while ago to make changes to the east side of their store.

  2. The article regarding the closing of the Wayne Acme was pretty specific in the resaons, none of which apply to the Devon Acme. These are about consumer trends. Giant had a fabulous store where Linens and T hings opened and closed, and no one shopped there. I don’t see a big move for expansion beyond the Wegmans, the private label giant with all the bells and whistles. When Wegmans opens on 202, I think we’ll see a whole bunch of shaking out. Americans don’t want grocery stores — they want entertainment or organic — and if they want low prices/national brands, they go to Walmart or Target grocery.

  3. Am I the only one who doesn’t want to spend an hour grocery shopping in an arena sized supermarket? I just want to grab my cart, roll through the aisles taking what’s on my list, check out and leave as quickly as I can. And in as compact a store as possible (i.e. as in the nearly defunct Wayne Acme).
    Perhaps it’s just me, but I can’t handle the size and crowds in a Wegmans. Even Genuardis is overwhelming. Whole Paycheck doesn’t show up on my grocery radar because I still like to buy some popular brands and junk food :-) Where to go now?
    What do you think?

    1. I’m with you, Catherine. The Acme in Paoli suits my needs just fine. And I can walk to it. I’ve only been to one Wegmans–in Downingtown–and I actually heard the manager of the E. Whiteland store apologize that the Downingtown location is “too small.” Ha! I was turned off by what I saw as unnecessary hugeness out in Downingtown so I have no desire to go to E. Whiteland. When so many people in the world have so little access to good food, I say bravo to the Acmes of the world–they’re big enough and stock as good a variety of food as any of us should need.

      1. Wegman’s is doing a fabulous job meeting the new demographic you mentioned — people who work full time and want convenience and yet the feel of home cooking. They are supposed to be building on what was the old Valley Forge Municipal Golf Course….but one wonders how long the sitework will take before someone digs a hole. No hurry I would imagine. I do feel badly for elderly shoppers — but perhaps it’s time for them to take advantage of the delivery options at these stores. I cannot handle the size of Wegmans, so I imagine my grandmother cringes at it.

  4. NeighboringFriend, you are so fortunate to be able to walk to do your shopping. Hundreds in Wayne can no longer do that. Thanks a bunch, Acme, for insisting on that clause in your old lease that prohibits any other grocery store from going in at Aberdeen and Lancaster.

    And Neighbor, I’m a bigger grocery grouch than you are: even that Paoli Acme seems too big for me.
    I understand that many people want super supermarkets with large ready-to-go meal sections because they have full-time jobs and don’t have time to cook….don’t know how to cook or just don’t want to. That’s fine.
    All I’m asking is for SOME FOOD CHAIN to keep a manageable sized store with competitive pricing for the rest of us.

  5. I go to the Giant in Frazer because it’s smaller and everything is easy to find. I shopped at the one in Exton until Giant bought Clemens and I must say that Frazer seems to pack everything in the store. The only thing I like with the Exton store is they had fresh made wraps all the time, Frazer doesn’t have much.

  6. IN the continuing rumors on our local real estate development (though I don’t think we should do much to check this out because I don’t want to jeopardize negotiations with Centro?), the Discount Warehouse next to the now closed Tuesday Morning said the closing was moved up for them because someone has leased the whole building…which is why Tuesday Morning left so abruptly.
    Now — employees on the floor aren’t likely to know much, but they claim their regional manager used to work for Tuesday Morning and learned it happened quickly because of some incentives. Actually makes sense. Can’t imagine it’s a grocery store (please no!) but something in that space would be a relief…keep it from looking like dead area. I know I contacted the Container Store about the site several years ago — they like to be near specific stores (Renovation Hardware demographic at that time), but maybe they are rethinking? After all — they are somewhat more recession proof in their business model.

  7. try the Pathmark on swedesford road. Good prices and decently stocked. Deli closes before the store does. I think they told me it is a different union. Not sure if that is standard op procedure but it ticked me off. Needed that salami!

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