CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – There is a push by thousands of people in the Charlotte area to bring a new grocery store chain to the Queen City. A Facebook group of more than 2,400 members wants the Wegmans brand, based in Rochester, New York, to expand further south.
Wegmans has a loyal fan base with hundreds of stores in the northeast. The closest location to Charlotte is about half a dozen Wegmans stores in and around Raleigh.
A Facebook group called “Bring Wegmans To Charlotte, NC” was started four years ago and now has more than 2,400 members.
“I just brought the group together just to have some fun. I had no idea this was going to happen and it has grown considerably,” said Thomas Bailey, who started the group.
The group not only discusses their love for Wegmans, but they make the more than two-hour drive to stores in Raleigh to bring back a haul of goodies for others in the group.
“My wife is from North Carolina. I said ‘honey we have to go to Wegmans.’ She said, ‘no just go to Food Lion.’ I said ‘honey you have to go to Wegmans.’ She went in there and she looked around and lost her mind,” said Bailey.
So what’s keeping Wegmans from the Queen City? First, there has to be years of research.
“They, first of all, decide on the city, the state and then they can narrow it down into shopping centers, communities, even which side of the street is best, the left side or the right side,” said Laura Egeln a professor at the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.
Wegmans has been good at choosing its 104 locations in the northeast. The venture south has been slow and there may be a reason for that.
“Charlotte is known as a traditional southern city, which then speaks to the Harris Teeters, The Lowes, The Publix, The Food Lion, that are more southern companies,” said Egeln.
Harris Teeter was founded in Charlotte and Food Lion was founded in nearby Salisbury.
Even with southern roots, Charlotte has a lot of northern transplants.
“We have money and we have cars and we want to give it to you, so Mr. Wegman please come here,” said Bailey.
FOX 46 checked in with Wegmans. A spokesperson says they have no plans to build in Charlotte right now, but they are aware of the following in the Charlotte area.