By Diane Rusignola
WASHINGTON – Philadelphia transplants to the nation’s capital are rejoicing: The Wawa goose is flying to D.C. At a private event at the Newseum in downtown Washington last night, Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens shared with a crowd of a few hundred plans for the company’s first D.C. store, set to open in December 2017.
D.C.’s first Wawa will be located at 1111 19th Street NW, four blocks from the city’s bustling downtown Farragut Square. It will be the retailer’s largest store to date and feature its latest food offer, including test items that may not be available at other locations. Gheysens said some of Wawa’s new food concepts include a hormone-free roasted chicken sandwich, custom salads, mac & cheese mash-ups and nitro coffee.
The new store will also feature Wawa’s first Wild Goose Café, including a bar, counter and table seating inside and outside the store. The outdoor patio seating will mesh with a neighborhood that includes popular lunch locations like Chop’t Creative Salad Company, Corner Bakery and Pret A Manger.
Gheysens said that in its first two years, Wawa plans to open 5-10 stores in D.C. neighborhoods including Georgetown, West End, NOMA, Capitol Hill and Capitol Riverfront, as well as nearby Maryland and Virginia neighborhoods. By 2022, Wawa expects to have 10-20 stores open in the Washington area, with an ultimate goal of 30-50 stores when at full density.
Wawa, a privately-held, associate- and family-owned company, currently has 757 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, and is on pace to open one store per week across the East Coast and Florida. The retailer serves 500,000 cups of coffee and 300,000 hoagies to 1.6 million customers every day. Wawa first confirmed its plans to open a D.C. store in May.
Diane Rusignola is NACS deputy editor and visited her first Wawa as a little girl in Cape May, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.