5th Street Station, Charlottesville’s newest shopping district, opened a Wegmans grocery store Nov. 6.
The 470,000-square-foot shopping district is located directly off Interstate 64 on Bent Creek Road and contains over 20 businesses, including Panera Bread, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Planet Fitness and Hair Cuttery.
“5th Street Station obviously represents a retail destination for portions of Charlottesville but also for all residents who live outside of Charlottesville,” Jeff Garrison, a partner of 5th Street Station Ventures, a commercial estate partnership that developed the shopping district, said.
5th Street Station’s location next to a major highway draws customers from outside of the immediate Charlottesville area.
“It has that regional draw, meaning that people from Crozet, parts of Lynchburg, will travel here for shopping,” Garrison said.
Garrison emphasized Wegmans’ ability to cater to student needs.
“Wegmans provides meal options… they have a lot of pre-prepared foods … that gives [students] an option to all get something different and be satisfied with their choices,” Garrison said.
Wegmans, headquartered in Rochester, New York, has locations in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. The Charlotteville location is its 92nd store.
The center also contains Panera Bread, a popular choice for students when studying.
“You throw in there Panera, a very similar choice, [that] maybe gets you out of your normal day to day routines if you’re trying to work on something,” Garrison said.
Garrison addressed student concerns with finding cheaper food options.
“A lot of people recognize Wegmans for their great food … but they don’t necessarily equate Wegmans with their very affordable pricing,” Garrison said. “But when you go down there you’ll see that the pricing comparison maps between Wegmans, Food Lion and Kroger, and you’ll see that they’re one of the cheapest if not the cheapest options.”
Garrison said he thinks the lower prices that Wegmans offers are a key draw for students.
“Surviving on the student budget also means finding the cheapest options, and I think that gives students something to travel for,” Garrison said.
The Dick’s Sporting Goods located at 5th Street Station opened last month and is one of less than a thousand in the country containing a Field & Stream store, Garrison said.
The shopping district will also be opening a Jersey Mike’s Subs and a Martha Jefferson Urgent Care facility, Garrison said.
“Given the proximity to students, we are very easy to get to on the bus, on the bike or in a car,” Garrison said.
5th Street Station is a 10-minute drive from Jefferson Park Avenue.
“I usually go to Kroger in Barracks [for groceries],” second-year Engineering student Heena Shah said.
Shah said she feels that Wegmans is familiar to many students.
“I grew up with a Target, a Costco and a Wegmans, those are my grocery stores,” Shah said. “I’m a lot more familiar with Wegmans so I would definitely go. I like Kroger, but it’s not Wegmans.”