Wawa is definitely getting customers in D.C. but that warm feeling doesn’t extend to some local shop owners, writes Amanda Michelle Gomez for the Washington City Paper.
“You couldn’t pay me money to step foot in there,” Camille Boyette said of the Wawa moving in to the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Boyette is general manager of Madam’s Organ, a blues bar that shares the neighborhood with one of the city’s six Wawas.
Lost City Books manager Evan Owens-Stively loves seeing a Wawa when he’s looking for a quality rest stop.
“But I don’t want to see it in our neighborhood,” he said.
Adams Morgan has a long and charmed history that could be spoiled with the entry of more chain stores, the thinking goes.
Not every D.C. Wawa has come in with the reputation of being a gentrifier. Half of the Wawa locations are replacing other larger chain stores.
The impact of Wawa on local businesses depends on where you are. Some businesses reported an uptick in customers when the Wawa moved in. Others reported they were squeezed out by higher rents, when Wawa became a viable tenant and landlords focused on corporate tenants over small businesses.
Read more about Wawa’s growth in D.C. in the Washington City Paper here.