It's not baby talk -- when folks say they need to go to Wawa,
they need groceries. Wawa owns and runs more than 600 Wawa
Food Markets in half a dozen states, including Delaware, Maryland,
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and now Florida. Wawa stores
are noted for their coffee and their salad and deli offerings,
including hoagie sandwiches; about 300 stores sell gas.
Unlike many convenience store chains, Wawa has its own dairy,
supplying Wawa stores and some 1,000 hospitals, schools, and other
institutions. The company opened its first store in 1964, but its
roots reach back to an iron foundry begun in 1803 by the Wood
family; food operations began in 1902 as George Wood started a
dairy in Wawa, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates a chain of convenience stores
throughout portions of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, and Florida.
Wawa is known for its freshly brewed coffee, Sizzli hot
breakfast sandwich, and Built-to-Order Hoagies. It offers
ready-to-go salads, fresh fruits, wraps, snacks, soups, bottled
beverages, frozen blended beverages, ice creams, milk, nutrition
products, and gasoline services.
Expanding beyond its Mid-Atlantic base, Wawa entered Florida in
2012 with its first store in Orlando and then branched out to the
Tampa Bay area in 2013. Wawa opened 15 stores in the Orlando market
and 10 in the Tampa Bay area by the end of 2013. Wawa projects it
will have 100 stores in Florida by 2018.
Wawa is growing in existing markets too. It's advancing toward
the Washington, D.C., area by opening stores along the
Washington-Baltimore corridor in northern Virginia and Maryland.
The convenience store chain plans to add as many as 60
locations in New Jersey by 2015.
To entice shoppers to its stores, Wawa has stuck with its
no-fee ATM policy, and in 2010 celebrated its 1 billionth
withdrawal. The chain continues to work to expand its
line of private-label foods and other merchandise in an effort to
differentiate itself from its competition. It offers a large
selection of fresh food, including ready-to-eat salads and produce.
Since the launch of its own brand of bottled water in 2004, the
company has introduced about 300 packaged items -- including
candy, yogurt, and tea -- under the Wawa label.
Wawa is the Lenni Lenape word for the Canada goose that was
found in the Delaware Valley; hence the goose on Wawa's logo.