Roadside fixture Wawa broke ground on Wednesday at its debut District outpost (1111 19th Street NW), marking the start of its plans to blanket the city over the next few years.
The brand intends to plant 30 to 50 locations in D.C. over the long term, vice president of real estate Brian Schaller said at a rainy groundbreaking event on September 6. The 9,200-square-foot storefront in Dupont Circle, the largest in the Pennsylvania-based company’s highway-hugging chain of convenience marts, is scheduled to open on Friday, December 15.
Its anticipated entry into the District will also be its most modernized and experimental location to date, featuring subway tile-wrapped walls, nitro cold brew coffee, free Wi-Fi, and a curbside patio. The urban layout is designed “to showcase our food model and bring to life upscale features for on-the-go customers,” says Schaller.
Georgetown is next on the list; That location is slated to open at 1222 Wisconsin Avenue NW in late 2018. In two years, the company wants to have five to 10 additional stores in the area, and in five years, 10 to 20 locations.
A mass of local politicos, press, and contractors tied to the project were present to mark the inaugural step. Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) has a longtime tie to the brand: he says he frequented Wawa while attending the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1970s.
The 24/7 Wawa coming to downtown is expected to feature a dedicated dining area dubbed Wild Goose Cafe boasting interactive digital technology to make hoagie ordering even easier. Also expect a “social media experience” different from its other locales, adds Schaller.
Hiring at the new D.C. location will start next week, company reps told reporters. The company already operates several stores in neighboring Northern Virginia.