Demolition fully underway for Long Island’s first Wegmans in Lake Grove

Wegmans opens in Lake Grove

From one end of Long Island to the other, Wegmans devotees have long clamored over social media for the wildly popular upstate grocery chain to put down roots locally.

Here are just three X posts we found dating to 2011:

The wishes of so-called Wegmaniacs were granted in April 2022 — up to a point —   when Wegmans Food Markets announced that its first Long Island outpost was planned for the DSW Plaza in Lake Grove.

But the Rochester-based chain, which inspires a rabid following for its butcher counter, fish market and prepared foods, has yet to pinpoint an opening date for the 100,000-square-foot store at Middle County and Moriches roads.

A Wegmans spokesperson told Greater Long Island that demolition on the Lake Grove location “has just begun” due to a delay in the permitting process, adding that the construction schedule is being evaluated to determine an opening date.

The last supermarket in the plaza, Fairway Market, closed in 2016.

Up and running in NYC

Wegmans last month opened its first Manhattan outlet, a happening that had aficionados lining up outside the two-level 770 Broadway for hours before the sun rose. That followed its October 2019 New York City debut at a sprawling, 74,000 square location near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where customers stood in the rain to wait for the store to open.

The start of the family-owned business dates back to 1916, when brothers John and Walter Wegman began selling fresh produce from pushcarts. In 1930, the brothers opened a 20,000-square foot store, which an official history of the company notes was “gigantic by standards of the day.”

The company now has 110 stores in eight states.

Onto Long Island

Long Island is high on the grocery list for the chain, which has new stores planned for four other states, including one in Fairfield County, Connecticut. 

The spokesperson said Wegmans selects new locations based on demographics, proximity to the chain’s supply network and the number of people who live within five miles. Proximity to a university and a “meaningful presence” of nearby food enthusiasts are also contributing factors.

According to an official announcement last spring, Lake Grove officials and the developer of DSW Plaza are hoping its eventual debut can serve as a boon for other businesses in the area.

“Wegmans is a first-class asset and will be an incredible addition to Lake Grove and the surrounding communities,” DSW Plaza developer Sam Shalem, chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties & Development, said when the Long Island expansion was announced last year.

The Wegmans spokesperson said the leadership of the Lake Grove supermarket is already in place, adding that approximately 500 full-time and part-time positions will begin to be filled early in 2024.

In the meantime, the waiting game continues online for Long Island Wegmaniacs.

Top: Demolition work is clearing the way for a Wegmans in Lake Grove. (Credit: Nick Esposito)

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