An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
In this highlight, we turn our attention to the prominent and influential Danny Wegman of the Wegmans company. Wegmans is a family owned regional supermarket chain founded in Rochester, N.Y. in 1916 and now stands as one of the biggest private owned companies in the world. If you ever visit your local Wegmans, you will be swept away by the wonderful aromas, be impressed with the excellent customer service and pleased with the overall quality of what Wegmans has to offer.
Wegmans is now under the direction of Ms. Colleen Wegman, Danny Wegman’s daughter as well as President and CEO of the wildly successful supermarket chain. With 92 stores in total: 46 in New York, 17 in Pennsylvania, 7 in New Jersey, 10 in Virginia, 8 in Maryland, and 4 in Massachusetts, Colleen continues to forge forward with the positive legacy her father and late grandfather, Robert Wegman started. I reached out to Danny Wegman for this interview and he responded to me almost promptly, it shows the level of humility and good character he possesses. Thank you Wegmans Family for your positive contributions in our city.
Che asked Danny a series of quick questions. Here is what they discussed;
Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
Grew up on a farm in Greece, NY. Went to McQuaid for high school. Went to college at Harvard.
What inspired you to get into business? Early experiences worth sharing?
I saw my Dad enjoying himself at work. He took me to stores when he could. I started working at Wegmans after high school and enjoyed it. Stuck with it!
What inspired the Wegmans franchise?
I’d say the inspiration was to do things well, and different! I’ve always enjoyed those two things.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
I think one of the most rewarding things that has worked out is seeing that by treating people right, it can make a business successful. Both customers and our own people. This isn’t taught in schools, but it really works. It begins by doing what’s right. Financial results follow.
What do you believe sets you apart from other business owners?
We’re fortunate to be a family business. It allows us to take the approach that we do. Many public companies get too concerned about the bottom line. And don’t pay enough attention to their people and their customers.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
Tennis, a little golf, and grandchildren!
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
Trying to help U of Rochester as chairman, and co-chair of the Regional Economic Council Finger Lakes
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
With the Rochester graduation rate over 80%! And a very healthy community through eating good tasty food!
What advice can you give to aspiring business owners?
Don’t be afraid to be different. Be afraid if you’re NOT different! Things work out.