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 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 about 1,000 hospitals, schools, and other institutions.
The company opened its first store in 1964, but its roots go back
to an iron foundry begun in 1803 by the Wood family; food
operations began in 1902 when George Wood started a dairy in Wawa,
Wawa's stores rang up an estimated $8.5 billion in sales in
Expanding beyond its Mid-Atlantic base, Wawa entered Florida in
July 2012 with its first store in Orlando and then branched out to
the Tampa Bay area in early 2013. Wawa will open 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, 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. Leading Wawa's expansion efforts
is CEO Chris Gheysens, who succeeded the retiring Howard Stoeckel
in 2013. Gheysens was formerly CFO of the company.
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.
The founding Wood family owns 52% of the company. Employees own
about 28% of Wawa.
Wawa is the Lenni Lenape word for the Canada goose that was
found in the Delaware Valley; hence the goose on Wawa's logo.
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