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TOUR: Wegmans - Downingtown, PA

Wegmans Food Markets
Opened: unknown
Previous Tenants: unknown
Location: 1056 E Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA
Photographed: August 20, 2019
Welcome to the Wegmans of Downingtown! The store appears to be around 115,000 square feet, and seems to be one of the older Wegmans in this part of Pennsylvania despite not being that old. It's in the Brandywine Square, a massive strip mall of nearly 600,000 square feet. Wegmans shares the mall with several other enormous tenants, including a BJ's at the western end of the strip mall.
Downingtown is a fairly large town as it is a retail center, although its population is below 10,000. It's roughly halfway between Philadelphia and Lancaster, and in any other context I'd have a hard time justifying why it should be grouped with Lancaster stores except for the fact that I visited it on the same day as Lancaster, meaning we have more between here and Lancaster than between here and our next stops to the east.
The layout is very standard for Wegmans, with the grand aisle on the right side. The first aisle is prepared foods on the front wall with a large cafe and beer/wine department in the front-right corner (no second floor here, though). Bakery, deli, and meat/seafood line the right side of the store, with cheese and floral at the back of the produce department. Dairy, pet products, and additional beer line the back wall with nonfoods at the far left side of the store and frozen in the front left corner. Pharmacy is in an island opposite the front-end.
This store looks a lot like other Wegmans out there, which is to say it's very nice. I will say I remember it being a bit darker (which comes across in the pictures, too) than some newer stores like the beautiful Fredericksburg.
These pictures were taken in 2019, pre-coronavirus. The prepared foods departments were in full swing here when I visited, although admittedly I ate dinner here with my mother and we were not overly impressed with what they had to offer. Nice selection, but none of it was remarkably wonderful.
And as we go further into the corner, we move into the beer and wine department.
The seating area is on the other side of the arches. I'm surprised I didn't get a picture of it. It was nice, but the high ceiling in the seating area doesn't work quite as well as in the rest of the store. It makes it feel slightly cavernous.
But that said, the ceiling in other parts of this store is noticeably lower than other Wegmans', suggesting that this store is in fact on the older side (probably late 90s or early 00s, right?).
Meat and seafood departments are at the back of the first aisle. Another indication of the store's age is the terrazzo, rather than concrete, flooring.
Seafood in an island. I really like this design, from the setup to the fixtures and the signage and lighting.
Deli here in the back corner, with service meat and seafood next to it.
These are surprisingly small service counters, but the packaged selections for these departments are huge. There is still quite a large selection overall.
Packaged meats continue onto the back wall of the store.
And on the other side of meat, we move into cheese, olives, and flowers.
As usual, cheese is in an island opposite the produce department.
I do think that these earlier Wegmans stores are a little more deluxe, decor-wise. The windows and other architectural details are really nice here, and I think although they're present in newer stores, they're not quite as detailed.
Here we move into dairy on the back wall of the store.
And opposite that, we have natural and organic foods in the first few aisles, complete with its own refrigerated and frozen section. This feels strongly like a store within a store, which I assume is the intention.
A large HABA department is up next, with the pharmacy at the front of this department. And we see some changes in progress (or at least they were three years ago...)
The home goods department was being reset and it looks like outfitted with new fixtures, so a few aisles were temporarily closed.
More dairy, and the obligatory hanging model train, on the back wall.
Like Fredericksburg, I toured this store at night so the empty shelves are just because of the high volume this store certainly does. Again, every indication is that this store does very well.
In the grocery aisles, we find a rather complete international food department. Of all the things that Wegmans does exceptionally well, this has not historically been one of them but it's obvious they've put a lot of effort into it and have significantly improved.
We get into paper and cleaning in the last few grocery aisles. As with most Wegmans, the aisles here are split front to back -- likely because of the store's enormous size.
An interesting choice here on the back wall, where pet food gets its own designated alcove. Not something I think I've seen before.
As we see, because of the store's larger size, its nonfoods selection is much larger than most supermarkets'.
Bottled water and other drinks are up next, with frozen foods in the front corner of the store.
This area feels a bit cramped and hectic, and I assume it's something that may be remodeled in the future if it hasn't been already.
Here we can see the frozen department opposite the grocery aisles. Again, although the store is very large, this area does feel a little strangely cramped.
And before we head out, we have to check out the bulk foods department, of course! And a look at the pharmacy, which faces the front end...
And then the front end itself.
That's all for this Wegmans, but we're not done with Downingtown yet! We're headed to an independent store just about a mile and a half west on The Independent Edition tomorrow. Head over to check it out!



    Posted on there on April 25, 2003, with a link to a story in the Philadelphia Enquirer.


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