News Nearby: Wegmans in Columbia Breaking Store Records

Wendy Webster, store manager of Wegmans Columbia discussed the store's first months of business. A Wegmans is slated to open in Germantown in spring.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced during his State of the County address last week that the Wegmans in Columbia was breaking store records in its sushi department.

The sushi counter at the grocery superstore is often crowded, but was the store really breaking Wegmans records, and, if so, would the private company, that does not release an annual financial report, be willing to talk about business?

"We're exceeding expectations for our Columbia store," said Wendy Webster, store manager of Wegmans in Columbia, on Monday. "The store has broken a lot of records."

As for what records, Webster wouldn't elaborate. She said that although the store has been doing very well, especially its sushi section, she didn't want to diminish what other Wegmans stores around the country were doing.

A Wegmans is slated to open in Germantown in spring.

"I think our community has responded well for us," said Webster. "[Wegmans] is the meeting place to have coffee on Saturday or Sunday and during the week it seems to be the place to pick up lunch or dinner."

Webster said the store got a lift during recent Super Bowl shopping.

"We had a great Super Bowl," said Webster. "It was a lift for the entire state, no matter where you were. It brought a sense of community."

Also, most customers who go to the store have likely noticed the second-floor space where a liquor store was planned. As of the beginning of February, the 10,000 square foot space remains empty, with banners covering its large windows.

A spokesperson for the company told Patch back in October the space would be used for educational and cooking classes.

Webster said that while she has not heard a definitive plan for the space upstairs, she said it's currently being used as a training space for store employees.

She said they are teaching English as a Second Language classes out of the space at the moment.

"We teach to our own staff in there two times a week," said Webster.

Wegmans opened its 136,000 square foot grocery store in Columbia on June 17, 2012. The Gates, NY-headquartered company operates 81 stores in the Mid-Atlantic region and Massachusetts.

The Atlantic reported in 2012 that Wegmans made $6.2 billion in revenue.

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