ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Colleen Wegman succeeded her father, Danny Wegman, as chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets in 2017. Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent volatility in the supply chain, she has maintained the commitment to the standards and values that make Wegmans one of the very best food retailers in the world and an exceptional place to work.
The company’s mission is defined as helping people live healthier, better lives through exceptional food. That means more than high quality standards; it also involves a focus on nutritionally balanced meals, specialty diets and immunity.
It also finds expression in Wegmans’ unsurpassed ability to create and present appetizing prepared meals.
“The mission that we’re on is to help people make great meals to eat so they can lead healthier and better lives,” Wegman said during an interview with USA Today last autumn. “We all share a great passion for food and helping people put a great meal on the table for their families. So we’re constantly putting together meals that we hope are most relevant for our customers and can be helpful for families and for food enthusiasts.”
Another core value at Wegmans is making a difference in the communities it serves, in those areas that the retailer feels it can have the greatest impact, namely health, education and youth support, and economic mobility. For instance, in 2022 Wegmans donated 32.8 million pounds of food in partnership with 48 Feeding America food banks. Education has long been a major focus of Wegmans’ giving efforts, and last year it awarded more than $6 million in tuition assistance to more than 1,900 employees.
The grocer donated $9.3 million in community-wide donations and events last year, focusing on helping families and enriching neighborhoods by partnering with or sponsoring local nonprofit organizations devoted to building better communities. In addition, Wegmans and its employees donated another $9.3 million to the United Way.
For more than 20 years, Wegmans has consistently won recognition as one of the best employers in the U.S., a distinction won by its employee educational assistance, its efforts to provide opportunities for advancement, and its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Wegman is one of more than 2,400 CEOs across the country who have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge to create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce.
Every Friday Wegman visits one of the chain’s 100-plus stores in eight Eastern states stretching from Massachusetts to North Carolina. It is, she said, like visiting family.
“It’s the highlight of the week for us, because we’re going to visit our folks, first of all to thank them for the great job they do every day, and to listen and learn from them what’s working best and what we might do to improve,” she told USA Today. “Because that’s really where we get our best ideas: talking with our people.
“Our people are so passionate about what they do, and they care so much about each other that we call them family visits, because it really does feel like a family, in every one of our stores and workplaces. We spend more time with people at work than we do with our own families, so it ends up being a real family culture.”