The unlikely uniting force in a bitter time: Wegmans


Supermarkets can apparently unite America in the most bitter election season ever. | Courtesy: Charlottesville Newsplex

I may not live in Charlottesville anymore, but I still closely follow the local news, events and issues. The small Virginia college town is a unique media market, one that spans many political ideologies, socioeconomic classes, religions and creeds. Charlottesville itself is a liberal urban oasis, surrounded by the sprawling rural and conservative suburbs.

Therefore, Charlottesville has also not been immune to the divisive rhetoric of the 2016 election. The 5th District Congressional seat has been a hard-fought and expensive race. That’s aside from city council or county supervisor races and state politics.

But amid the chaos of bickering and heated discussions, I noticed something Sunday that has united the diverse Central Virginia community, all politics aside.

And after reading a sampling of articles and posts, I thought, “How would I write the first words of the newscast tonight if I were still in that anchor chair on the weekends?”

I wrote it anyway. It would go something like this.

Good evening, and thanks for joining us.

I’m Chris Stover.

Our top story tonight: a community coming together. Not a community divided by instigating tweets or missing emails, by disturbing rhetoric or hate-filled speech. But rather a community that came out in droves for a moment of Americana.

People living in Charlottesville and Albermarle, even as far away as Greene and Nelson, have found a sense of belonging and togetherness just two days before the most divisive election many have ever experienced.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, city or country, religious or agnostic.

Today, nearly everyone in Central Virginia can celebrate the culmination of years of anticipation and excitement.

The first Wegmans supermaket in the area is finally open in Albemarle County.


Yes, food unites.

And yes, in a local market, it is not far-fetched at all to believe that the grand opening of a new supermarket would be the lead story of a newscast (or the front page of a paper).

I’ve only been to Wegmans once. It was in New Jersey while I was an intern at CBS3 in Philadelphia. I went out with a producer to interview a local politician, and she treated me to lunch as my internship came to a close. I don’t really remember the experience all too well, but I have quickly learned the power and influence of Wegmans.

Perhaps it’s naive or idealistic to hope the sense of togetherness I’ve read and seen in Charlottesville social media and news reports will last through and after Election Day. But if you’d like a slice of life to escape the election craziness and embrace the simple pleasures of life, I encourage you to google “Charlottesville Wegmans.”

That’s all.

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