Nov 25, 2016

Observations From An Old Allentown Meat Market

Card carrying members of this blog know that in addition to being a son of a bitch, i'm also the son of a butcher. Because my father had a meat market, I was impressed when Wegmans opened about 15 years ago. They raised the bar for local supermarket chains. Getting on their parking lot the day before Thanksgiving was a fool's errand, until this year. On Wednesday there were plenty of spaces, I couldn't even describe the store as very crowded. What happen? The simple answer would be more competition, with Hamilton Crossings and their new offerings. I actually think that  something else was also in play.

For the last several years, Wegmans had indulged in one remodeling project after another. Although new, changing and different might appeal to their clientele in upstate New York, I don't think that they understood local Pennsylvania Dutch thinking. Make it do, wear it out, use it up, do without has been the mentality here for generations. I found the continuous remodeling annoying, and with each improvement there seemed to be less customers.

This blog has received some complaints, mostly from my distressed Democratic readers, about straying too far from the valley with my recent election posts. I wouldn't expect to hear that beef about this entry.


Suburban Dad said...

Every time I go to Wegmans it's packed. It seems the renovations are largely targeted at two things. One is to raise the price for all the people who treat Wegmans as a restaurant, by adding a restaurant. Secondly to keep pushing forward, toward a day when Wegmans is selling beer, wine, and spirits, as Pennsylvanias arcane liquor laws finally evolve.

Jamie Kelton said...

I go to a very nice Giant that's in Quakertown, and my parents go to an Acme Marrket that is near the fairgrounds. They've been going there for years. I've been in Wegmans and their prices are higher and it's not really near where we live anyway.

One of the things I dislike is when the stores move things from one row to another. When I go in I don't like to search for something I thought I knew where it was, and that's something Wegmans is guilty of a lot, although I only go in there occasionally when we're up an Allentown.

I also have a question for you. I recall you writing about The Mohican Market on 9th street near Hamilton. I found some old newspaper ads from the early 1900s about a Mohican Market 19 South 7th, which would have been where Leh's was. Would that be the same one or a different one ?

I hope you had a very nice Thanksgiving :)

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@9:11, i don't know where your parents go, but it's not the acme near the fairgrounds. that has been a CVS for many years now.

mohican was on 7th street maybe to the 1940's, then it moved to N. 9th st., where butz is building his third building, behind his first. my uncle purchased mohican in around the mid 1960's. after it closed it became the blue room bingo parlor. then a metered parking lot by the parking authority, then purchased by butz for parking for his 1st building.

Robert Trotner said...

Welcome home, Michael! All is forgiven.

michael molovinsky said...

robert@9:47, please understand that my election posts are not in support of trump, but rather at disbelief at how distressed some democrats are behaving. i would hope for their sake that they calm down, although, that sentiment seems only to enrage them more.

Monkey Momma said...

Ah Wegmans. I was just there today! Here are my observations:
1. I used to shop at Giant, until I realized that (for my own shopping cart) wegmans was way cheaper. I thought Giant was cheaper, but it turns out I was paying on average about 30% more there (for what I buy) and I think it's because Giant has those gas rewards, which people do pay for on the front end with more expensive groceries. Not sure...but my cart at wegmans rings up much cheaper than Giant.
2. I cannot freaking stand how Wegmans moves everything around all the time - makes me crazy. And there's two or three places to find things, depending on if it's organic or not organic or whatever. Just put all the mac and cheese boxes in the same place and let me pick.
3. I LOVE their beer (and now wine) shop and have been VERY impressed and happy with the selection and the prices.
4. They have decreased, significantly, their choice of brands for many items. Much less to choose from in every item I buy. More of the Wegman's brand now, instead of "name brand." Which is OK, until your father-in-law demands his brand of horseradish mustard, and wegmans no longer carries it.
5. I cannot buy any of their prepared foods, sadly, because none of it is safe for food allergy people, and we have food allergies in the house. They make no effort to prepare anything in areas that are nut-free, for example, and all prepared foods list all possible allergens on every label. This is really too bad, as it rules out things that are normally nut free, such as pizza or even pre-sliced fruit. I mean, we just slice our own fruit at home and make most of our meals ourselves, but Wegmans is missing out on the growing market of food allergy customers.
6. I have not joined Costco yet, but I will. And if it's cheaper than Wegmans, especially meat, I will be shifting my grocery purchases to Costco. I don't shop Whole just isn't my thing. Aldi is wonderful, organic and cheap. There's a lot of choices for the consumer these days. I would expect Wegmans to suffer in this new market, but their beer supply and now wine will hopefully keep them afloat. It's a wonderful store.

JoshLCowen said...

I find Wegmans more like a museum than a grocery store, in keeping with the cosmetics of downtown Allentown. More sizzle than substance. I prefer, in most cases, name brand products rather than generic. Funny, isn't it, how people resent generic drugs but rush to 'store brand' products in supermarkets? I think Giant is generally fairly priced. Sure, the gas points is a bit of a marketing gimmick, but as long as one used the points I don't mind playing the game.
Costco? Fine place, fun at times. But how often does one need to be 48 rolls of toilet paper?