Wawa Set to Return to College Park After 16 Years

HYATTSVILLE WIRE: Wawa is coming back to College Park after a 16-year absence.

The Pennsylvania-based chain of convenience-store-slash-eateries will open a new location at 10050 Baltimore Ave., next to the College Park Ikea store.

The 4,736-square-foot store will be the first in the city since 2007, although it has one farther north at 10515 Baltimore Ave. in Beltsville and another at 9100 Riggs Rd. in Hyattsville as well as five in D.C.

To the uninitiated, Wawa looks like a somewhat-fancier version of a gas station with a small restaurant and convenience store inside.

But since starting in 1964, the chain has developed a loyal following who love the fresh hoagies, self-serve soda fountains and reputation for friendly service. It now operates nearly 1,000 locations from Pennsylvania to Florida, with locations in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky planned.

When Wawa closed its previous location in College Park, 2,000 students joined a Facebook group threatening to hold a sit-in and tore souvenirs off the walls in its final hours — customers who were “loyal to a point that I didn’t understand” in the words of one employee.

The location in College Park fits with Wawa’s current strategy of expanding in the D.C. area as well as targeting college students.

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