Wawa's Disciplined Growth

Retailer adds 20th store in Richmond area, with more to come...in time

WAWA, Pa. -- Wawa plans to open a total of about 20 stores by the end of next year, including more in the Richmond, Va., area, with others elsewhere in Virginia as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Florida, reported The Richmond Times-Dispatch. While the chain is looking for new locations, it has a disciplined process that takes time.

Its slow-growth pace is part of the privately owned company's culture, David Johnston, Wawa's COO, told the newspaper last week at the grand opening of its 20th Richmond-area location.

"We don't have [image-nocss] quarterly pressures, so we make long-term decisions. We're looking ahead 10, 20, 30 years," Johnston said.

Wawa opened its first Richmond-area location a decade ago and entered Virginia 12 years ago. Virginia now has the third-largest number of stores and employees for Wawa, said the report. It has 59 stores in the state. Two other stores planned for the Richmond area are in Hanover County.

The company is concentrating its expansion plans in Virginia to the Richmond area, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the report said.

Although Wawa is methodical about its expansion plans, Johnston said, the chain remains innovative and is looking for additional ways to expand its customer base. The retailer is updating some of its locations with new color schemes and has added several product lines in recent years, as well as upgraded its coffee offering.

The Wawa, Pa.-based company currently operates approximately 575 c-stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.

(Click here for more on Wawa' expansion plans.)