Wawa Will Open Largest Store Ever in D.C.
Wawa, the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain, will open its largest store to date at 1111 19th St. NW in the former City Sports location in December. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Although the chain, which began as a dairy in 1964, is known for its filling stations off suburban highway exits, the urban D.C. store will be gas pump-free. However, the 9,200-square-foot will have the chain’s signature hoagies, milkshakes, coffee, free Wifi and digital ordering kiosks.
It will also offer many firsts for the company including a new seating area dubbed Wild Goose Café with indoor, outdoor and bar-style seating along with test items not available at other locations such as a hormone-free roasted chicken sandwich, custom salads, mac and cheese mash-ups, a specialty bakery and nitro cold-brew coffee.
Each day, Wawa stores serve 500,000 cups of coffee, 300,000 hoagies, 175,000 Sizzli breakfast sandwiches and 1 million cold beverages.
“D.C. has all of the important demographics for us: Population growth, millennials and lot of foot traffic,” Wawa president and CEO Chris Gheysens told a crowd of realtors, developers local officials and the media gathered on the top floor of the Newseum last week. “We are an East Coast brand that’s been around the Beltway for a long time, but a couple of years ago it became clear to us that Washington would be a good market for us long-term.”
He called the urban concept Wawa’s growth model. It is not new for Wawa, which has opened than a half dozen of them in Philadelphia in recent years.
“Folks working in the high-rises and 24-hour hospitals and other things in urban environments need that place to touch down, get a cup of coffee, a smoothie, a great Wawa built-to-order hoagie, and there are very few places in the District that can fit that bill,” said John Poplawski, Wawa’s senior director of site acquisition.
But the D.C. store will have an upscale feel with exposed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick walls, polished subway tiles and wood tones.
“While we currently have stores throughout Virginia and Maryland, we look forward to bringing our unique mix of quality and convenience to residents of our nation’s capital by providing a unique restaurant-style location created specifically for the D.C. customer,” Gheysens said. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support from our D.C.-area fans who are already eagerly anticipating Wawa opening in their city, and we can’t wait to open our doors to our D.C. friends and neighbors for the first time this December.”
Wawa plans to open five to 10 stores in D.C. neighborhoods, including Georgetown, the West End, NoMa, Capitol Hill and the Capital Waterfront, as well as nearby Maryland and Virginia neighborhoods in the next two years, Gheysens said. Within the next five years, the company expects to have 10-20 stores open in the DMV with a goal of 30-50 stores when at full density. Wawa currently has 757 stores in Maryland including College Park, Virginia including Sterling, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.