Tomorrow promises to be a banner day for Philadelphians: the world’s biggest Wawa is opening in Center City. I repeat: THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
The Wawa Nation has been waiting for this for a very long time. Ever since the beloved Philly-based convenience store chain revealed its plans for the enormous storefront at 6th and Chestnut, there’s been an undercurrent of nonstop buzz as city denizens hopped up on self-serve coffee and Sizzlis from their current, small neighborhood Wawas have eagerly awaited the arrival of the Wawa mothership.
The thing that will most distinguish the Center City Wawa, besides its sheer size, is its decor and atmosphere. Sure, the floors will be clad in the signature Wawa terrazzo, but the walls are a moody gray, and there are two bespoke Art Deco/industrial murals that span two stories apiece. The aim for Wawa corporate was to make this very special location feel more like a coffeehouse than a gas station. To that end, they’ve kitted the place out with leather lounge seating, walls of greenery and plenty of cafe tables where people can sit and savor their signature hoagies or pastry offerings.
A new tenant in the historic Public Leger building, Wawa will also feature the first-ever Wawa merch display, where you can pick up brand-emblazoned hoodies, t-shirts and travel mugs.
There are currently more than 800 Wawa locations in six states, but the chain remembers that Philly was the place where the magic all started.
“There is an affinity people have grown up with the brand. Philadelphia is appropriately tough on us, which makes us better. But, they also recognize we are the hometown kid that’s grown up here, and when they see us have a little success like this they cheer for us,” Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens told Fox29, which was covering the opening event.