The Cult of Wegmans

Nov 05, 2004

By George Anderson

An opinion piece appearing in the Ithaca Journal puts forth the theory that Wegmans Food Market is a cult. How else reasons the author, Jennie Daley, could the “reverence and devotion” openly displayed by consumers for the grocery store be explained?

The company claims to have received almost 5,800 love letters from people last year. “Nearly half of the letters are from people asking the company to build a store in their town.”

Here’s an example: “My family visited your Dulles location two weeks ago, and we just can’t get over it. Unfortunately, it’s an hour away, and more than two hours during rush hour. Please, we are begging you to consider Montgomery County in Maryland. The Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Rockville areas need you. When my friend told us about your store, he said it would be a ‘religious experience’ and it was. Please, please be kind and help this great-food deprived family.”

Moderator’s Comment: Does the relationship Wegmans has with its customers differ dramatically from those of its competitors?
What is Wegmans doing (or not) that everyone else should be emulating?

We’ve heard more than once in discussions about shopper loyalty that if you want loyalty you should get a dog. Even the most cynical must admit Wegmans
has loyal customers.

George Anderson – Moderator

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