New Raleigh Wegmans brings traffic, growth concerns for residents

April 23, 2019 GMT

The first Wegmans Food Markets store in the Triangle will open Sept. 29.

For some residents, the 104,000 sq. ft. store, located at the Midtown East Shopping Center on Wake Forest Road, feels like it popped up overnight.

“They’re definitely dedicated to getting it built,” resident Adam Wolfe said.

Along with Wegmans will be a brand new shopping center, featuring dozens of restaurants and retail.

“We’re expecting more business over here at Jet’s, praying for it. I can’t wait,” said Mayson Drigggins who works nearby and hopes Wegmans will bring increased foot traffic to the area.

While midtown residents are looking forward to the new options, many are also concerned about the traffic impacts they will bring.

“The citizens have requested, like loudly requested, that the city do something to manage growth better,” said Patrick Martin, who chairs the advisory council for midtown residents.

The City of Raleigh is working on an area plan for midtown at St. Albans Drive. Martin said there is also a corridor study planned for Six Forks Road.

“Nobody is opposed to growth, we just want it managed so it doesn’t overrun the existing residents,” he said. “The plan for traffic is never totally going to get figured out.”

This month, midtown residents will meet to discuss plans to handle the traffic and, in May, the city planner will present the progress to residents at a meeting and get feedback on the plan.

The store is hiring 325 part-time workers, including chefs and customer service representatives. In addition to its 150 full-time workers, the store will employ 475 people.

People who are at least 16 years old can apply for part-time positions at jobs.wegmans.com/Raleigh.

Wegmans is “basically the amusement park of grocery stores,” said WRAL’s Smart Shopper Faye Prosser. The family-owned business is based in Rochester, New York.

The store is known for its “open-air market” feel, according to a press release. The new Raleigh Wegmans will feature fresh-caught seafood, imported cheeses, deli and charcuterie and international foods.

The Burger Bar, a family-friendly, casual restaurant counter, will also be part of the space. The Burger Bar will serve burgers, salads, soup, sides and wine and beer by the glass.

Prosser said that Wegmans’ reputation among shoppers and employees has long ranked among the best in the country.

“They are not only ranked high for customer service, but they’re also ranked very high by employees,” she said.

Two Wegmans are planned for Cary, and stores are planned for Chapel Hill and Wake Forest, too.