Wawa Inc., the East Coast convenience and gas station chain, is planning to build a new store that will be different from the retailer’s other 900 shops.
The architectural design of the 1,850-square-foot store in Pennsylvania’s Lower Bucks County will offer drive-through service only, removing the need to limit the number of customers in the store or to require masks or social distancing.
“Wawa continues to test new store concepts with this latest drive-thru format, providing an opportunity for our customers to still experience and enjoy their favorite Wawa products while remaining inside their vehicle,” said Terri Micklin, Wawa’s director of construction, in a statement. “It is critical to provide new ways to access Wawa, increase convenience and provide new options for service.”
Construction is scheduled to start later this month with a targeted opening by Christmas.
Micklin said he hopes the Pennsylvania-based chain will learn from the layout, workflow and traffic flow as the company explores alternatives to its larger store format in the post-COVID-19 era.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Falls Township officials, who are providing us with the approvals and support of this newly designed store format that will be of benefit to the community,” he added.
In addition, Wawa has announced its plans to add a drive-through feature to a new store under construction in Westhampton, New Jersey. The chain also operates stores in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Wawa offers freshly prepared foods, beverages, coffee, fuel and surcharge-free ATMs.
Rami el Samahy, a principal at OverUnder, the Boston architecture and design firm, and an adjunct professor at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, told Architectural Digest that this won’t be the first time in history that buildings have been reimagined in response to an increased understanding of disease. During the Second Empire period from 1852-70, Napoleon III, the great-nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, asked administrator Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann to modernize Paris. And London was reconfigured in the wake of the city’s 1954 cholera epidemic.