Wawa, the convenience store chain based in Pennsylvania, officially opens its first two First Coast area stores on Wednesday.
A ribbon cutting will be held at the 6787 Wilson Boulevard store in Jacksonville at 9 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting at the 678 Blanding Boulevard store in Orange Park.
Grand opening specials include free coffee and giveaways to the first 100 customers lined up at the stores. The doors open at 8:00 a.m.
Two more Jacksonville stores are under construction, according to the Coming Soon section of Wawa's store locator:
4866 Gate Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32246
(Opening this winter)
11812 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(Opening winter 2018)
The Florida Times-Union reports several additional First Coast locations are also planned.
The first Wawa opened in 1964 in Folsom, Pa. Four years later it expanded into New Jersey and was quickly followed by an expansion into Delaware in 1969.
By 1972 Wawa had 100 stores and the slogan, “People on the Go – Go to Wawa Food Markets”
Although best known for its convenience stores, Wawa actually started way back in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey.
The first Florida store opened in Orlando in 2012 and today there are more than 750 Wawas across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.
WJCT News Business Analyst John Burr says Wawas today tend to be 4,000-to-6,000-square-foot mega gas stations where you can get freshly made food and do a quick grocery shopping trip.
Don Longo, the editorial director of trade magazine Convenience Store News, said in 2016 that Wawa is considered a “best in class” in the convenience store industry, with a top five ranking among U.S. chains.
“They’re famous for their hoagies. Depending on what part of the county you’re in, it’s either a sub sandwich or a hero sandwich, but they’re called “hoagies” in Philadelphia, and they’re famous for that,” Longo said.