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SLIDESHOW: Weis Markets opens latest ‘community market’ prototype

BY Michael Johnsen

ENOLA, Pa. — Weis Markets on Thursday unveiled it latest flagship location here, featuring the latest in merchandising and marketing for the Pennsylvania-based grocer. The store features the company’s second drive-through pharmacy, a dedicated dietitian and a pharmacy-adjacent consultation room for patients.

The 65,000-square-foot supermarket represents the company’s new community market design, with a robust food court, service-focused fresh departments and extensive variety throughout the store.

“Our community market design has been in development for a number of years, so we are delighted to debut our new store to the Enola community,” Weis Markets CEO Jonathan Weis said. “Each new feature of this store was designed to not only provide convenience to our customers, but to also elevate the grocery shopping experience. We wanted to look beyond what our customers are putting in their carts to offer a distinctive shopping experience that combines value, variety and service. We think we achieved this goal and look forward to serving the Enola community for many years to come.”

To supplement the broad selection of products, the new store features the latest shelf labels featuring Weis Markets’ “NutriFacts” program, which represents a guide to healthier eating with labels identifying heart-healthy foods or gluten-free options. The store also features a newly launched “Nourish Your Gut” program, which identifies such foods that can boost gut health as whole wheat breads that serve as a good source for probiotics, Rick Seipp, VP pharmacy Weis Markets, shared with Drug Store News during an early-morning tour. Probiotic options also are merchandised prominently in the pharmacy area, with shelf-stable options adjacent to a unit containing refrigerated probiotic products. It’s the next trend in nutritional food merchandising, Seipp added.

Shoppers at the Enola store will be able to consult a dietician, who will have regular hours, Seipp noted. Weis Markets hopes to hire as many as four full-time dieticians to serve across its store base this year, he said. Working together, the company’s dietitians and pharmacists may one day represent a critical pairing in helping to boost metrics across the Five-Star Quality Rating System created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Already, Weis Markets’ dietitian in the Lewisburg, Pa. area is working with local healthcare providers on diabetic workshops.

The Enola location also is home to the company’s first in-store pub, complete with a rotating selection of draft beers and a growler station. The pub features an adjoining café stocked with 900 domestic and craft beers along with 500 varieties of wine. For a sweeter treat, customers can enjoy the in-store ice cream parlor for a soda float or scoop of Weis Quality ice cream.

Other store features include a produce department with 1,200 conventionally grown and 200 organic options, an in-store bakery offering fresh baked artisanal breads, gourmet cookies and chocolates, and a service meat department serving custom cut Certified Angus Beef along with a wide selection of pork, poultry and lamb. The meat department also features an expanded selection of organic and natural beef, pork and poultry.

To commemorate the opening, Weis Markets donated more than $150,000 to community organizations and charities in the Enola area during an exclusive preview day on March 8. During the ceremony, Weis donated money to the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Hampden Youth Baseball Association, Canine Rescue of Central PA, YWCA of Harrisburg, Hampden Township Fire Company, Boy Scout Troop 89 and The American Trauma Society.

In related news, Weis Markets on Thursday reported an annual sales increase of 9% to $3.1 billion.

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