Wawa Celebrates One-Year Florida Anniversary
Now with 22 Sunshine State stores, chain plans 12 more for 2013, 25 more for 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Wawa Inc. is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the grand opening of its first store in the state of Florida, located directly across from SeaWorld in Orange County. Wawa held a grand opening celebration on July 18, 2012, marking the retailer's official entrance into the Sunshine State market. Wawa marked the one-year anniversary on July 18, 2013, with free coffee all day to customers thanking them for their patronage.
The one-year celebration also marks the milestone of Wawa now including more than 1,000 associates as part of the Florida Wawa family.
"We couldn't be more thankful to our new Florida friends and neighbors for the warm reception we've received during our first year," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa's president and CEO. "Since the first store opened, we've invested in more than 22 stores to date; we are on track to open another 25 in 2014; we've created more than 1,000 new jobs; and we've used 1.5 million pounds of ice in our smoothies and built enough hoagies to stretch to Tampa and back three times. One year after our Florida entrance, our anniversary event is a wonderful way to celebrate our first year and thank our customers--as well as our associates, the new members of our Wawa family who have made us better than ever. We couldn't have done this without them."
Last July, Wawa officially entered the Greater Orlando market opening five stories in five weeks through the initial launch. Wawa now operates 14 stores in the Orlando market and eight in the Greater Tampa Bay market; it will open 12 more stores between now and the end of the year (nine in the Orlando and five in the Tampa market). Click here for a list of upcoming grand openings.
In 2014, Wawa plans to open 14 stores in the Tampa Bay market and 11 stores in the Greater Orlando market.
Over the past year, Wawa has worked to give back to the Central Florida community, and has donated nearly $225,000 in support to community partners, including Second Harvest Food Bank; The Winnie Palmer NICU; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; the USO; Feeding America Tampa Bay; and dozens of hyper-local community causes. Wawa also worked with students at the University of Central Florida to collect items for the Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts.
Also, the Florida team has hosted quarterly blood drives that have resulted in more than 1,370 pints of blood being donated to the Florida blood bank. Currently, Wawa is in the process of building new relationships with the regional Susan G. Komen organization and Special Olympics chapters, two organizations that Wawa supports at both a local and national level.
"While we are very proud of our growth in terms of stores and number of new jobs created, we are most proud of the number of causes we have helped and the number of people's lives we have impacted," said Gheysens. "As we celebrate one year in the Florida, we are all more committed than ever to continuing to grow our commitment to support causes and organizations that have a positive, meaningful impact on our new Florida communities.
Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., is a chain of more than 600 convenience retail stores (300 offering gasoline) located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Central Florida.