Weis Markets

Here’s a sneak peek of the new Weis Markets store opening in Cumberland County

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on March 03, 2017 at 4:37 PM, updated March 04, 2017 at 9:54 AM

An edgier, not-your-grandmother’s Weis Markets will soon enter the competitive West Shore market.

Starting 8 a.m. March 9, Weis shoppers will find a totally new shopping experience from the Sunbury based-chain when it opens a prototype store at 4525 Valley Road in Hampden Township.

The 65,000 square-foot store sits near a Giant Food Store off exit 61 of Interstate 81.

Inside the store, shoppers will huddle around a pub for a draft of Sly Fox Brewing Company, Troegs Independent Brewery or St. Boniface Craft Brewing Co. beer from the tap or sit in an ice cream parlor for a chocolate milkshake or a hot fudge sundae.

The store will have an expanded takeout food section with cheesesteaks, panini sandwiches, Asian wok section, pizza and hand-rolled sushi. There will be a Choboni Yogurt Bar, mix-and-match pick K-cup 12-packs, Pennsylvania foods section and more than 1,900 organic and gluten-free products.

Push your shopping cart through most supermarkets in Pennsylvania, and you’ll surely encounter the likes of chow chow, Lebanon bologna and birch beer. While these foods are certainly are not exclusive to Pennsylvania, you will find them in most of our grocery stores.

In addition, the store will carry 900 types of beer with the popular mix-a-six program priced at $11.99 as well as 500 varieties of wine. It will have a drive-thru pharmacy and gas pumps.

By no means, is this your average Weis store.

“We are sort of a middle-of-the-road supermarket,” said Jonathan Weis, the chain’s chief executive officer. “We always have one eye on pricing and we compete with massive, massive competitors such as Royal Ahold, Wal-Mart and Wegmans and others who do a tremendous volume. So that tempers our thinking. But, on the other hand, we have to be on trend. We want to be interesting, not boring or dull. We just have a philosophy that we’re not going to be afraid to fail.”

The store has been a long time in the making for Weis which proposed the location more than six years ago. More than 200 full- and part-time employees have been hired.

The site was chosen for its proximity to a solid, more affluent population base with a lot of discerning customers, Weis said. While it’s location is close to competitors, Giant and Wegmans, he said, there is “enough left in the pie we can do a fine business and frankly co-exist.”

It is Weis’ hope to perhaps incorporate some of the successful elements from the prototype store into the chain’s other locations.

“We want this to be our latest and greatest and we have some new ideas here,” said Kurt Schertle, the chain’s chief operating officer. “What works we will move to the other stores. What doesn’t have applications, we won’t.”

The store will have one of the largest gluten-free and organic sections in the company. It also will offer the largest selection of hummus and probiotics in the company as well as an expanded Asian and hot foods selections.

The ice cream parlor grew out of Weis Market’s own line of ice cream produced at a plant in Sunbury. It sells more than 60 flavors of the ice cream in its stores.

“Do we think we know what is going to work? Yes. Is it all going to work? We know it won’t and we’ll pivot from there,” Schertle added.

He emphasized Weis continues its focus on the region with remodeling projects recently completed in Hummelstown and Mechanicsburg as well as the new footprint with the Hampden Township store.

In its annual market study, “Food World,” a trade publication for the retail and supermarket industry, broke down the top 10 supermarket leaders in central Pennsylvania. The market includes Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties. The survey measures sales for a 12-month period, ending March 31, 2015.

“I think this solidifies our presence in Harrisburg as we continue to grow,” he added.

Here are some of the new store’s features:

  • First in-store pub with a rotating selection of draft beers and a growler station. The pub’s neighboring cafe that will offer 900 domestic and craft beers along with 500 varieties of wine.
  • Ice cream parlor with floats, shake and sunades made from Weis Quality ice cream.
  • Food court with sushi made in store as well as fresh cooked meals. Includes a grill counter with burgers, paninis and grilled vegetables; an Asian food Wok station and Chobani Yogurt creation bar.
  • Deli with extensive selection of Dietz and Watson sliced cheeses and meats and cured meats, olives and gourmet cheeses
  •  A produce department with 1,200 conventionally grown and 200 organic items. Also offers eight varieties of fresh squeezed juices, fruit and vegetables cut to order and fresh ground peanut and almond butter.
  • An in-store bakery offering fresh from the oven artisanal breads, gourmet cookies, premium chocolates and specialty cakes by the slice.
  • More than 1,900 organic and gluten-free grocery, dairy and frozen products.
  • A service meat department offering custom-cut Certified Angus Beef along with a wide selection of pork, poultry, lamb and store-made sausage. The meat department will have an expanded selection of organic and natural beef, pork and poultry.
  • A service seafood department offering a variety of sustainably caught fish fillets; fresh never frozen Icelandic sea fillets; store-made crab cakes, salads, ceviche; and a selection of smoked fish.
  • A grocery department offering a wide selection of items including a “Made in Pennsylvania” section, conventional and craft sodas and a mix and match pick K-cup 12-pack program.
  • A Pennsylvania section with made-in-Pennsylvania products, ranging from potato chips to sodas and condiments.
  •  A European Fresh Flower Market with fresh flowers, mix and match bouquets, dressed orchids and roses.
  •  A full service pharmacy with a drive-thru.
  •  A Gas N’ Go Fuel Center with six pumps, offering a convenient way for Weis Club Card Shoppers to redeem their reward points for fuel discounts.
  •  Online ordering with in-store pick up.
  • Environmentally friendly elements such as LED lighting and skylights to provide natural light and reduce electric lighting needs. Enclosed refrigeration cases to reduce energy and advanced refrigeration technologies to reduce refrigerant emissions by 60 percent, compared to typical supermarket systems
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