The idea for the mill, however, was created right here in Rochester. Wegmans’s Bread Artisan, Nick Greco, first proposed the idea of using a flour mill in the store after experimenting with his own recipes. Along with growing wheat in a lot next to his home in downtown Rochester, Greco also had a small electric mill in his office at Wegmans.
Once CEO Danny Wegman was given a taste test — and saw just how much of a difference freshly-milled flour could make — the store then tested out its new recipe to see how customers would react. It comes as no surprise that the bread was a hit, and Wegmans was soon on its way to importing a full-size custom-built mill from Austria.
The mill is only being used to produce one kind of bread (for now, anyway): a dense Einkorn Rye bread, which sells for $5.50 per loaf. The company has said that once its bakers are familiar with making Einkorn Rye, the bakery will begin experimenting with local, organic, and stone-ground flours for other breads.
Adding extra features, like a grain mill, may seem counterproductive to a successful grocery store model. While most businesses aim to create a clear definition of their brand — one that is simple enough for consumers to understand within just a few seconds of visiting the store (or even website) — Wegmans is focused on creating a brand that always changes according to what customers want.
Wegmans, which just recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary, is the first grocery store in the U.S. to have an operational flour mill in an actual store. The Pittsford location (at 3195 Monroe Ave.) is currently the only store with its own mill, but the company stated that it might consider adding a mill to another store if the current addition goes well.