I have never been to a Wegmans (I grew up with Giant Eagle and Thorofare.) So when I heard that Wegmans was looking to come to Columbia along Snowden River, my first reaction was “a what”, followed quickly by the general traffic concerns. However, the more that I read about the store and the reaction of the labor unions that are opposing it, the more I’m looking forward to it opening.
My goal when shopping is usually to get in and out as quickly as possible. I even try to gage the length of the lines when I walk in to decide if I need to keep below 15 items. And it really does not matter if its a Giant or a Safeway, whatever happens to be closest. So, the idea of a 160,000 sq. ft., multiple floor grocery store probably will not fit into my general shopping pattern.
The Baltimore Sun story Panel decision on Wegmans is appealed got me thinking how wonderful can this store really be? Well, according to Ellicott City resident and union leader Buddy Mays, it must be some store:
“What happens with these size stores, they draw from as much as a 25-mile radius. They can destroy any store in that path,” said Mays, president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 27, which represents grocery workers.
Really? That good? A 25 mile radius – in this area?
According to the Maryland Department of Planning, in 2000 the population density of Howard county was 983.4 per square mile (Anne Arundel – 1177.2, Baltimore county 1,260.1, Montgomery – 1,762.5 and Prince George’s – 1,651.1), so being conservative, let’s just use the numbers for Howard county. The area of a circle with a 25 mile radius is ~1963 square miles. That’s a population of ~1,930,414!
With nearly 2 million people that would be ~605,145 families (MD average family size in 2000 was 3.19). And a single Wegmans can destroy any store within that path? That is either (a) a really great store, (b) the other stores really stink, or (c) someone is over-stating things a little.