Friday, September 13, 2013

Weis — Hillsborough, New Jersey

Weis opened their Hillsborough store on Sunday, August 25. This former Pathmark, which closed back in 2010, is Weis' 4th store in New Jersey with a former store in Flanders. For additional Hillsborough and Weis coverage, you can jump over to the first report of this new location by clicking here. For a look at the former A&P in Hillsborough with original decor still intact, click here. This post is simply a visual tour and review of this new Weis Market.

Interesting feature here... drive through for picking up online orders.

The Bakery is impressive for a standard supermarket. I would say it is better than the Hillsbourogh ShopRite and also has the two nearby Stop and Shops beat.

Produce is among the store's best features. It is leaps and bounds better than the ShopRite's which is absurdly small and cramped.

The openness of the front-end is pretty refreshing. I'm standing just inside the entrance. Customers have a clear shot to head off in any direction. The store enjoys a lot of nature light with all the windows along the front.

Before we go any further here, let's take a quick look at Weis' former decor package...

Weis rolled out this look in the early to mid 90's. They stuck with it for around ten years. It had many similarities to what it's main competitor Giant was doing at the time.

A look along the front-end of the Clarks Summit store. One very interesting feature here is the angled checkouts. Acme took this same approach at the new Bryn Mawr location. Now back to Hillsborough...

This department is average for a typical grocery store. Nothing out the ordinary. For years Weis used the tagline "Ahead of the Rest". They never were, and frankly, still aren't. They do have the other nearby stores beat on cleanliness and organization. That of course could all change as time goes on.

Hey, how'd these get here? No other Wild Harvest items in the organic section. Must have gotten mixed in with the shipment by accident. Weis doesn't carry any of it's own branded organics or health food. The organic produce selection was disappointing.

The Pharmacy backs up to Produce with Health and Beauty in aisles 2 through 4. A nice bright and spacious area.

I wonder if Pathmark's aisles extended further back. This area along the back of the store seems more spacious than necessary. I found overall selection in the store to be lacking. It's kind of the antithesis to the overly stuffed and cramped ShopRite which could work in Weis' favor. The overall atmosphere here is much more pleasant as well.

Several half-aisles are located throughout the grocery section which seems to impact overall selection.

I was surprised to see prices as high as they were. I figured Weis would come in lower to help draw people away from ShopRite. That doesn't seem to be the case.

Some aisles are split halfway for pass throughs as you can see between aisle 13 and 14.

Nice frozen department although the lights are not motion sensor like in some other Weis stores. Perhaps there was just too much activity in the aisles to know for sure.

I do give the decor a thumbs up. Weis has been using this look and variations of it for a good 10 years now. The chain does have a tendency to use the same decor packages for many many years.

Store offices are located behind the bread area.

Checkouts are a major FAIL! Plastic bags are located at the end of the belt. Cashiers bag everything automatically making bringing your own bags very difficult. They do have metal trays that connect these two sections allowing groceries to slide to the back. Only a couple of registers had them. I always bag my own items in reusable bags so I don't find this set-up acceptable at all. Another huge fail... the registers do NOT have screens that display the prices as the items are being scanned. Can you imagine? If you want to see what's being rung up you have to watch the tiny credit card screen there on the left. My whole checkout experience was infuriating. It I'm ever back at this store, I'll be using the self-checkouts.

Overall verdict: A nice alternative to the other stores in the area. If pricing and selection were to improve, this Weis market could truly be... ahead of the rest.


  1. Weis is also set to open (or opened recently) a store in Huntingdon Valley PA, a rich suburb of Northeast Philadelphia. This will replace a store which was built as a Super Fresh in 1992, and was a Pathmark a few years before it closed in 2012. A Wine & Spirits store opened into the Super Fresh/Pathmark and is/was continuing to operate once Pathmark closed. So when Weis opens, or when Weis opened, this liquor store was reunited with a supermarket neighbor to share its space with.

    The grocery wars in and around Huntingdon Valley will be intense once people in the area get used to Weis. A very small, run down IGA is in Huntingdon Valley but the Giant (was Genuardi's and in all but name, Safeway) will give Weis stiff competition. This is not to mention the ShopRite in Cheltenham, which is in the bottom floor of a former Gimbels in a 50's mall (Burlington Coat Factory takes up the other half of the former Gimbels) and the very old Pathmark down the street in Wyncote, which is across the parking lot from a Walmart which may or may not have a full grocery section. Walmart also has a store in Cheltenham which is in a huge shopping center but one without a supermarket, so they will probably add groceries at the first opportunity.

    Also, the Acme in Jenkintown, in the bottom half of a Lord & Taylor, is very close to the new Weis. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods both have stores in Jenkintown too, and several Asian supermarkets, including ones in former Acme, Pathmark, and Food Fair/Pantry Pride buildings, along with both a Save-A-Lot and ALDI in Cheltenham, compete with the mainstream supermarkets for basic items.

    Super Fresh has a store in Richboro not far from Huntingdon Valley which is miles from the next closest Super Fresh, but not terribly far from a number of older Pathmarks. An old, small Giant is in nearby Southampton, and will probably move to the Super Fresh site ASAP if/when Super Fresh closes. The huge Acme in Feasterville is also close to Huntingdon Valley, and is in a shopping center where A&P and later Super Fresh once were, but both are long gone from the town. In the event Giant indeed does take the place of Super Fresh in Richboro, the Acme in Warminster which opened in 1993 (replacing a 70's Acme in Southampton, right next to where Giant opened soon afterward) and is showing its age will suffer. This store was remodeled in the past several years but still seems like it could use a lot of work.

    As for Weis being "ahead of the rest", they sure have a long way to go if they ever really want to live up to that description. I haven't been to any of their newer stores, but all their stores I've been to have been dumps. Here are some examples of these locations: in Coopersburg, Danville, Milton, Mountain Top, Lansdale, Lancaster (one in Lancaster recently closed, but the other two in Lancaster are still dumps), Gap, Palmyra, Hummelstown (Hershey), York, and Shillington (near Reading).

  2. Prices at Weis only go in one direction...UP.

  3. The Weis that is supposed to be coming to Huntington Valley is surely taking its time...the store was supposed to open a long time ago. As of last month, it looked like little was done besides a general clear-out of the space (the Wine & Spirits store is gone as well).

    As for competition, this store is really just on the beginnings of Huntington Valley. It competes more with Warminster and neighboring towns. (The Warminster Acme is the closest store to this location, and will probably hurt this store the most. It has never been a busy Acme. Then a couple miles up the road you have the Warminster Giant, and ShopRite , as well as Aldi and a mini-Walmart Supercenter).

    The Giant and Behayres IGA Market are really on the complete other side of town (the Giant being close to the boarder of Philadelphia).

    I was sort of surprised Weis even took this location. The demographics in the area definitely could have supported something more like Whole Foods. But Weis said they want this to be one of their 'flagship' locations. It is supposed to also have an extensive cafe' with beer to-go, but we'll see if this ever happens.

  4. I'm not sure where your info. is coming from Geno, but really none of the places listed are close to the future Huntington Valley Weis. And there hasn't been an Acme in Southampton since the early 2000's. The neighboring Giant that opened in the late 90's really hurt them badly (this Giant was remodeled a few months ago) They moved to Warminster (Davisville Center) after a Thriftway that was once in the center shut down. (The Southampton Acme was very briefly a McCaffery's and a 'The Fresh Grocer', but both failed and the space is now non-grocery use).

  5. I meant to add that the former A&P/Super Fresh in Feasterville is now a TJ Maxx, as is the identical former A&P/Super Fresh on the border of Wayne and Devon (near King of Prussia). Half of the former Super Fresh (the one from the 80's that closed in 2000, NOT the one that closed this year, and started as an A&P) in Marlton NJ is now a TJ Maxx, and the rest is a DSW Shoe Warehouse. Ironically, the former 70's A&P/Super Fresh in Lansdowne PA became a Goodwill store which just opened this week, but was once planned to be a TJ Maxx that was cancelled. Marshalls (the sister company of TJ Maxx) was supposed to open a store at the former 50's Acme in Wilmington DE, in the Merchants Square shopping center, but that also was cancelled.

  6. Weis carries more Lebanon Bologna than most places. Seltzer's presliced and logs sweet and regular. They also have the double smoke sweet variety, presliced only. And they carry Kunzler's Lebanon Bologna. Great when you can't make it out to PA Dutch Country!