The convenience store chain broke ground in Vienna on Tuesday, and is looking to expand its reach throughout the region with “retrofit” locations.
Wawa lovers rejoice: An estimated 40 stores are in the works for the Northern Virginia, set to be complete by 2025, thanks to the company’s new $240 million initiative.
“The time is finally right,” says John Poplawski, senior director of real estate for Wawa, Inc.
The privately owned company from Wawa, Pennsylvania, broke ground at its Vienna location on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at a celebration fit with food and beverage samples, appearances from state and local officials and the debut of a “Taste of Vienna” cake, made by neighboring Amphora Bakery.
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Have you heard the news? Wawa is coming to Vienna. This was the cake presented at yesterday’s construction kick-off, which features the area’s attractions and businesses. (📷 by @lydiarusso 🎂 by @amphora_bakery)⠀ ⠀ #vienna #wawa #viennava #cakes #dessert #news #bakeries #fairfaxcounty #virginia #nova #va #novamag #northernvirginia #northernvirginiamagazine #food #chocolate #baking #instafood #yummy #yum #delicious #foodie #celebrate #openings #newopenings #wawalife
“Vienna was the perfect place to start,” says Poplawski. “It has a vibrant community and great traffic, whether it’s toward DC or Fredericksburg, a vibrant downtown with lots of pedestrians and surrounding established businesses.”
On Tuesday, Wawa announced it will break ground in Manassas, Sterling and Fairfax in 2020, with the goal of opening two to three stores per year in NoVA through 2025, and employing an estimated 2,000 residents across the region.
According to Poplawski, Wawa has been looking to expand its reach since it opened the first NoVA location in Prince William County in the late ’90s, but struggled to find property as the area’s population grew steadily over the past 20 years.
Instead of building new locations from the ground up, Wawa is looking to “retrofit” in order to reach new communities, much like it has recently in the DC area. The Vienna location, for example, will be transformed from a former Coldwell Banker office.
“We’ve done [retrofitting] in urban areas for the last two years across DC, but we haven’t done it in a suburban setting,” says Poplawski. “Here, we are taking something that’s already there and blending it into the community.”
The Vienna location will not have fuel services, but will have eight Tesla charging ports. A change, that Poplawski says, is due to the act of retrofitting locations, and looking ahead to a society that puts more emphasis on electric vehicles.
Besides reaching more Northern Virginia customers, Poplawski says, the company is looking forward to contributing to its newfound communities through charitable giving with The Wawa Foundation, high-quality products and meaningful interactions through the Wawa associates.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our great food and our famous Wawa coffee,” says Poplawski. “But [the associates] are the real reason folks come back. When they come back to have that moment during a transaction, that’s what really makes it special.”