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Wegmans Food Markets has been ranked as the No. 1 supermarket in the country by customers in the latest Consumer Reports survey.

The Gates-based grocer edged out Trader Joe's, Publix, Costco, Sprouts, Tops Markets and 49 other grocery stores.

More than 27,000 readers rated the nation's major grocery stores based on service, quality of perishables, prices and cleanliness. Wegmans received an overall rating of 87 out of 100, with 100 representing "completely satisfied." Both Wegmans and Trader Joe's earned the highest possible marks for service, defined by employee courtesy and checkout speed.

"We have always believed that if you meet the needs of your employees they will in turn take care of your customers," said Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale. "That has been the central philosophy of this company for many years and it has a proven track record of working."

It certainly must be working — Wegmans also topped two other lists of best supermarkets by Consumer Reports, released in 2009 and 2012.

The Rochester-area is well represented in this year's rankings with Tops Friendly Markets, Trader Joe's, which has a store in Pittford, and Costco, slated to open as part of the CityGate project this fall.

Costco's location will be the company's first store in western New York, and is expected to bring around 300 jobs to the area.

While Wegmans began locally, is now has stores in six states along the East Coast, Natale said. She added that three new stores in the Boston area are expected to open in the near future.

So how does Wegmans maintain customer satisfaction despite rapid expansion?

"What sets us apart, above all, is our employees," said Natale. "It is very gratifying to see their efforts in delivering incredible customer services, high quality, and low prices recognized."

NUPADHYE@Gannett.com

Twitter.com/NeetiU_DandC

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