Scrolling through the 12 pages of posts I haven’t seen anything like this but I thought it would make an interesting topic. I’ve been in a lot of them around the country. Because of my business I’ve travelled over 100 days a year for almost 25 years around North America and Europe. This includes driving trips of 8,000 miles in the U. S. and 4,000 km in Europe. Years ago before I married I would go to bars; after marriage I started going to grocery stores and wine shops! In this time I’ve been in a lot of them.
I have not been in Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield, OH yet. I have been in four different Woodman’s (Rockforld, IL, Kenosha, WI, Janesville, WI, Madison, WI) including two that are approximately 240,000 square feet each and, I believe, larger than Jungle Jim’s until it finishes it’s current expansion. I don’t like Woodman’s-low ceilings, no specialty areas, almost a warehouse club type of set up with 25 registers per store and an emphasis on volume. Stu Leonard’s in Connecticut is large and a big improvement on Woodman’s although not nearly as big. Byerly’s has several very good stores in Minneapolis as do Larry’s Markets in Seattle and a large Schnuck’s in St. Louis. Harris Teeter has a 75,000 square foot store near Buckhead in Atlanta and several Whole Foods now top out at around 50,000+ square feet.
But the two best grocery stores in America, I believe, are the Central Market in Austin, TX and, the overall best that I have found, remarkably near me, the Wegmans 130,000 square foot market near Dulles airport in Sterling, VA. This last store had over 30,000 people visit it on opening day. Half of the store has the feeling of an European market with a wood burning bread oven, in house butcher (Angus beef, American Kobe beef, dry aged beef in house, etc.), excellent fish market, cheese shop second only to Dean and DeLuca in D. C. and on and on. I believe that this store is on target to gross approximately $125 million in revenue this year which will make it America’s highest volume grocery store. And, it is ALL groceries. This is the link to a page of their website which has a number of photos of various departments: http://www.wegmans.com/about/pressRoom/photoGallery.asp
The market that I believe that is closest to this Wegmans in style is the Auchan at Val d’Europa outside of Paris near Euro Disney. This is a hyperstore with an approximate 100,000 square foot gocery store on one level and a Wal Mart like general merchandise store on another. Both adjoin a large shopping mall. The grocery store is actually very similar to several of the larger Wegmans (i.e. Dulles, Woodbridge, NJ, Downingtown, PA, Bethlehem, PA, Pittsford, NY, etc.). If anything some departments are better because of the location (i.e. cheese). There are larger grocery stores in Europe including an older Carrefour about 7 or 8 miles closer into Paris on the same road that runs Past EuroDisney. I would guess that this store is close to 200,000 square feet for groceries alone. Some of its employees several years ago actually wore roller skates!