Showing posts with label Sheetz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sheetz. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Walnut Hill Shopping Center seeks Sheetz-related parking waivers from Gaithersburg

Walnut Hill Shopping Center
is seeking approval of changes to its parking lot, and waivers for smaller drive aisles in several spots around the lot, from the City of Gaithersburg. The retail property was recently annexed into the City, and is making many improvements and alterations to successfully bring add an Aldi grocery store and Sheetz convenience store to its tenant roster. Because the future Sheetz will take up a portion of the existing surface parking lot, a reconfiguration of the rest of the parking spaces on the lot is necessary. Walnut Hill is arguing that maintaining a sufficient number of spaces will require waivers to allow several drive aisles to be narrower than allowed under City code.

The drive aisles proposed in several locations around the parking lot would be 20 to 24 feet in width. City of Gaithersburg code requires drive aisles with two-way traffic to be 26' in width. The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will take up the waiver request at its meeting tonight, April 3, 2024, at 7:30 PM. City staff are recommending approval of the waiver request, and have advised that the other proposed changes - which involve adding green space to the parking lot (shown in green on the map below) - be addressed when the site plan for the Sheetz is submitted for approval at a later date.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Gaithersburg to rule on updated signage for Walnut Hill Shopping Center

The venerable Walnut Hill Shopping Center sign is a landmark in itself for drivers traveling through Gaithersburg on MD 355. But like other design features at the center, it is now considered past its prime as the property's owners are amidst a major renovation to update it. There is one other problem - as Walnut Hill was annexed into the City of Gaithersburg to facilitate the addition of a Sheetz convenience store, it is now subject to that city's zoning codes. And those codes say that Walnut Hill's existing signage is not compliant.

Proposed locations of new
monument signs (in red) and
freestanding tenant signage (green)

The Gaithersburg Planning Commission will attempt to resolve all of these issues by reviewing, and potentially voting to approve a comprehensive sign package submitted by Walnut Hill at its March 6, 2024 meeting. Walnut Hill's proposed signage is still not in compliance with city code, but Planning staff are still recommending approval of the package. They note that the new signs will be in the same locations, will assist in safer wayfinding for drivers and pedestrians, and will not be visually obstructive. 

One condition placed on the release of final sign permits from the City is the removal of two Montgomery County stormwater easements at the property. Some of the current and new signs are located within those easements. The City says it is currently working with Montgomery County to have those easements terminated.

Corner monument sign - note the
Sheetz gas station canopy visible in 
the background

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Aldi construction begins at Walnut Hill Shopping Center in Gaithersburg

Excitement is in the air at the venerable Walnut Hill Shopping Center at 16529 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. Contractor HBW Construction of Rockville has begun work converting the former Weis Markets space for new anchor tenant Aldi. Renovations to update the shopping center's appearance are also underway at the property, as you can see below. 

Continue to patronize your favorite businesses at the center, as despite the tarps and scaffolding, all tenants remain open during the renovations. A second Gaithersburg location of Sheetz will add to the buzz at the shopping center in the future. The City of Gaithersburg recently approved the annexation of Walnut Hill into the city, in large part to secure the agreement with Sheetz. That Sheetz deal became a critical linchpin in Walnut Hill's plan to revitalize the property. Walnut Hill's ownership said the revenue from the Sheetz would finance the renovations to the center, property upgrades that Aldi had required as a condition of its lease. Sheetz opened its first Gaithersburg store last year, and shortly thereafter declared it was "highly-impressed with the performance" of the location.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Sheetz "highly impressed with the performance" of its first Montgomery County store in Gaithersburg

says it is "highly impressed with the performance" of its first store in Montgomery County, which opened in August at 751 Progress Way in Gaithersburg. The rapidly-growing convenience store and mega gas station chain provided its impression of the early financial success of the store in a new memo to the Gaithersburg Mayor and Council, which provided answers to questions raised at a previous public hearing regarding its planned second store at the Walnut Hill Shopping Center. In the unsigned memo, the company also expressed its appreciation for the support it has received from the City and the public, as it enters the Montgomery County market. 

The Altoona, Pennsylvania-based chain also reports 350 people attended the grand opening. In addition to the $2500 donations it made to Special Olympics Maryland and Feeding America that day, Sheetz says it has now made a second $6000 donation to SOM, which was generated by proceeds from its special discount fuel promotion during the grand opening period.

Gaithersburg has provided a welcoming launch point for the chain, as its zoning is friendlier to Sheetz than Montgomery County's, as well as to its fellow Pennsylvania competitor, Wawa. That is why both firms are launching their entry into Montgomery County within its city limits. It's also why the Walnut Hill Shopping Center is seeking annexation into the City, so that it can add the Sheetz store to its property.

Sheetz says its Walnut Hill store will be smaller and have less gas pumps, due to its closer proximity to a residential neighborhood than its Progress Way store - although that store was also smaller than the typical Sheetz operation found on major highways. It predicts that there is enough drive-by traffic on I-270 and MD 355 to support both Sheetz locations. Sheetz also believes that the lack of fast food restaurants in the immediate proximity of Walnut Hill provides demand for its quick-service fresh food operations. An attorney representing Walnut Hill Shopping Center, in separate correspondence to the Mayor and Council on September 19, says that the revenue provided by the Sheetz store will cover the cost of needed upgrades to the property.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Montgomery County's first Sheetz opens in Gaithersburg (Photos)

Montgomery County was years overdue to have a Sheetz convenience store, and it has finally happened at 751 Progress Way, off of MD 355 in Gaithersburg. Now that Montgomery County's first Sheetz is open, the first thing I noticed is that this store is about half the size of the ones I stop at on road trips. However, the outdoor dining area is spacious.

Not surprisingly, given Montgomery County's archaic liquor sales monopoly and rules, there is no Beer Cave at this Sheetz. There isn't even any beer! Again, Montgomery County Prohibition-era liquor rules still in effect. The store does have a drive-thru, and self-checkout.

Given the smaller size, the store doesn't have the amount of merchandise I'm used to seeing at Sheetz. But, no complaints! The made-to-order food and beverages are among the major reasons people stop at Sheetz, and they are finally available in Montgomery County!

Monday, October 6, 2014


The Halloween Countdown continues on the Robert Dyer Channel. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a dime-a-dozen these fall days (except for McDonald's odd decision to not bring theirs back this year), but I stumbled across an alternative to the ubiquitous beverage while on the road this weekend.

Sheetz has a different concept - a Pumpkin Pie Latte, rather than Pumpkin Spice. The ordering process is unique as well at Sheetz. The convenience store and mega gas station eliminates the need to use Starbucks lingo at the counter (and the often misspelled name on your cup) by letting you place the order on a touchscreen. Pick exactly what you want added to your coffee on the screen (including an extra shot of pumpkin pie flavor or an espresso shot), pay at the cashier counter, and wait for your number to be called to pick up your Pumpkin Pie Latte.

Was it worth the (short) wait? Watch my review to find out. Sheetz is in several nearby states, including Maryland (of course), Virginia, West Virginia, and its home base of Pennsylvania.