Between the vacant A&P and Pathmark stores, plus the former Foodtown site, Brick has a lot of room to offer a supermarket chain looking to come to town. But first, they need some convincing, Mayor John Ducey said Tuesday.
Ducey knows what most Brick residents do: interest in a high-end supermarket chain has been building for years, and Brick’s central location between Toms River and Monmouth County makes it a prime location. Interest on the part of the higher end chains in opening here, however, has not always equaled that of their potential customers. Demographics skew too old, analysts have said in the past, and household incomes are not high enough. But if there is enough interest expressed by residents, Ducey said, one chain, Wegmans, may be convinced.
Ducey said the township has been active trying to lure Wegmans to town, and he has held discussions with the company.
“Apparently, they don’t think there is sufficient demand for a Wegmans in Brick,” Ducey said. “Let’s show them that’s not the case.”
The case for a Wegmans opening in Brick is strong, the mayor contends. Going by population, the population between Brick and the towns it borders is about 346,000. Even with a Whole Foods opening next month in Wall Township, a Wegmans in close proximity would compete not only with the Monmouth County store, but more easily draw customers from the remainder of Ocean County and the northern barrier island, where residents might find the trip to Wall too far.
“We’re really trying to contact them and get into some type of negotiation with them,” Ducey said.
The plan? Speak loud enough so Brick can’t be ignored. Ducey has suggested Brick residents post to the supermarket’s Facebook page about how they’d like a location in town. Also, residents should use Twitter to send a tweet directly to the company, which often responds quickly and forwards the suggestion to its marketing team. Then, there’s the hashtag – Ducey suggests residents add #BrickTownshipWantsAWegmans to each social media post.
@MayorDucey: We're so honored, Mayor Ducey! Please be assured that your request has been shared with our real estate department!
— Wegmans Food Markets (@Wegmans) March 9, 2016
For those less tech-savvy, letters to the company can be sent to Wegmans Food Markets, P.O. Box 30844, Rochester, N.Y. 14603-084.