Small Business Tip: Wegman’s Moment

by Dawn Fotopulos on January 21, 2012

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The most important small business tips help build customer loyalty. It’s mission critical!

A 5% increase in the retention of a profitable customer can turbo charge your net income from 25%-85% higher. No I’m not kidding.

Wegman’s Grocery Store is incredible at building customer loyalty. I was visiting their store in Ithaca, New York recently to buy ingredients for my winter root vegetable soup. (I’ve included the recipe below in case you’re curious).

Wegman’s buys from local farmers so the carrots, parsnips, onions, and squash were super-snap- fresh. They didn’t have to travel cross country leaking nutrition along the way.

Have you ever loaded your groceries on the conveyor belt at a grocery store and then realize you forgot something? It’s a terrifying moment. Everyone behind you starts “har-umphing”, complaining about how they got in the wrong line behind this woman who can’t make up her mind, blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, I needed some sherry to complete my soup. It just wouldn’t be the same without it! I mentioned this to the checkout clerk at which time, heaven opened and the angels came down.

When I got to the checkout counter, something miraculous happened.

Instead of complaining that I was holding up the line, she said, “no problem. I’ll get one of our runners to bring you a selection of our sherry wines“.

I checked my coordinates to see if I was still on planet earth.

The checkout clerk called her intercom and then continued to ring me up. Before she was through, the runner arrived with not one but three varieites of sherry for me to choose from.

My tab was a lot higher than if I didn’t buy the sherry. Wegman’s revenues were higher for this one transaction. The customers behind me stopped complaining.

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven and will return every chance I get.

Wegman’s took burden off my shoulders by helping me reach my objectives. They didn’t point a finger in the general direction of their 20,0000 square foot store to ask me to fend for myself. They got the item for me.

When was the last time that happened to you?

The best small business tip is that the Wegman’s staff helped with a smile and an attitude that was gracious and professional. How very rare that is in today’s world.

The Wegman’s staff were totally tuned in.

It wasn’t the attitude usually encountered like, “I’ve helped you, now you owe me your first born child”. They considered helping a time-strapped customer as a pleasure.

I’m not loyal to Wegman’s. I’m a rabid fan. That’s why I’m telling you about them. It’s what rabid fans do.

Create rabid fans in your business and the news will go viral. That’s money in the bank for your small business.

Wegman’s does business the old-fashioned way; they respect their employees and their customers. What a novel concept.

My hope is Wegman’s will take pity on city-trapped New Yorkers and give Gristedes and Fairway a run for their money.

Wegman’s, are you listening?

Here’s another rabid Wegman’s fan. Find out what her experience was like. It’s a mind-blowing, true, story.

Do you have a “Wegman’s Moment”? Tell us about it!

Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for the Dawn’s Root Vegetable Soup. You will faint it’s so delicious. And it hits the bulls-eye on a cold-winter’s day.


  • 2 Medium Sized Onions- cleaned, chopped
  • 3 Parsnips (medium sized)-peeled, chopped
  • 2 Ribs celery- cleaned, chopped
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes- peeled, chopped
  • 2 Carrots- cleaned, chopped
  • 6-8 Roasted Chestnuts (you can buy these already peeled and roasted)
  • 32 oz. (2 quarts)  GREAT quality chicken broth (no make-believe please)
  • Sherry Wine (the real stuff)


Saute Onions-  in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft and transparent. Add salt/pepper.

Clean and chop parsnips, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, and chestnuts. Throw into the pot with the onions. Saute those too on low heat. Add olive oil if vegetables start to stick. Season with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

Add the chicken broth. Feel free to pop in a pinch of dried thyme for added flavor.  Cook on the stove top for about twenty minutes covered or when the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. If you cover the pot, it’ll cook faster.

Puree in a counter top blender or use an immersion blender to make smooth.

When serving, fill the soup bowl then add a cupful of sherry on top to finish it.

It will look like a cream soup, but it’s not. Your kids will actually eat this because the parsnips make it sweet. You’ll look like a genius.

So this small business tip is about anticipating the pressures your customers face and set up your company to address those as they arise.

Instead of being inconvenienced, it ‘s a way to add value to what really is a commodity offering.

The reason I’m writing about this experience is because it’s so unusual. I have NEVER gone food shopping and had that kind of help.

Wegman’s is not the only grocery store in town. They know that. They work hard to earn their customer’s loyalty. They find ways to differentiate a Wegman’s shopping experience by providing world-class service.

And the Winter Root Vegetable Soup was divine.

So what happens to your profit and loss statement when you build this kind of loyalty?

Watch our Instant CFO Course to find out. A $249 value for $49.

Two free courses come with it: Instant Marketing Manager and Instant Sales Manager Courses for Free.

And it’s all guaranteed. Your money back if we don’t deliver.

In your corner as always.

Dawn Fotopulos







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