MEDFORD — They started lining up the dark and by the time the doors opened for the first time, they were more than 1,000 strong Sunday.
A fife and drum quartet playing spirited music harkening back to their Revolutionary War attire was not all that greeted the first customers of the new 120,000 square foot Wegmans at Meadow Glen in Medford on Opening Day Sunday.
Lots of smiling faces inside the store and some rock-bottom sales prices on everything from broccoli crowns to plain old milk were in no short supply as well.
“We love it!” said Malden resident Kyle Toomey, who was checking out the new store with some 20-something friends. “It seems like everything is on sale and we have only walked around in just a small part of the store.”
The doors opened officially just a minute or two before the announced 7 a.m. time and despite the long, long line of shoppers, most with supermarket carriages in front of them, everyone moved slowly and orderly as they filed into the new Wegmans.
The brides’ rush at the old Filene’s in Downtown Crossing this was not.
“I can’t believe we are here with all these people at 7 on a Sunday morning, but it was definitely worth it,” said Caroline Nesbitt, of Medford, who had her young daughter sitting in the carriage. “Everyone likes something new and there’s really nothing like this store, just the size of it, around here.”
Wegmans’ opening Sunday was the final piece of the major transformation of the former Meadow Glen Mall, a Medford icon for nearly four decades, when it replaced the old Meadow Glen Drive-in Theater. The process officially began just about two years ago when Wegmans officials announced they were in negotiations with the New England Development, the mall owners, to site a store as the primary anchor in the newly-configured shopping area.
Throughout the nearly two-year construction process, which included tearing down most of the former mall area and waving goodbye to more than 30 retail and service stores, two bookend national stores remained in operation, never intending to move, Kohl’s and Marshalls.
Marshalls, which dramatically changed its look for the new “facing out” store style, was actually open Sunday at 7 a.m. as well, “piggybacking” on the Wegmans opening, which caused the expansive parking to nearly completely fill up shortly after the opening.
Once construction was completed, Meadow Glen (renamed without the “Mall” at the end) saw the openings of two stores from a pair of other well-known national chains, Petco and Dick’s Sporting Goods. All four stores share the same 3850 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford address.
“Wegmans has built its reputation in the Northeast for its larger-than-your-average grocery stores, packed with specialty, organic, and prepared products alongside the necessities. Stores vary in size and departments, but all offer a wide range of produce, house-baked breads and bakery products, freshly-caught seafood, and artisan cheeses, plus often a salad bar, a sushi station, beer and wine, an in-house sandwich shop, café, pizza bar, and more,” Jacquelyn Cain wrote in a Boston magazine story on Wegmans. “The family-owned company also earns respect for customer service and employee relations.”
The new Medford store has two features not found in any other Wegmans in Massachusetts, a Burger Bar and Pizza Shop where, store officials say, a pizza oven can bake a pizza pie in 100 seconds.
“The Burger Bar is a family friendly in-store restaurant counter, serving burgers and sandwiches, salads, soup, sides, and beer and wine by the glass,” Russell said in a statement. “The Pizza Shop here offers made-to-order pizzas baked in a custom rotating brick hearth oven, along with Sicilian-style pizza by the slice.”
The new Medford Wegmans is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to midnight.