Wawa's 'Pipeline' of New Stores

Core markets, foodservice to grow along with Florida expansion, Stoeckel says

WAWA, Pa. -- Even as it prepares to enter the state of Florida, Wawa Inc. will see "exciting developments" in its core markets, CEO Howard Stoeckel said in his latest "Bird's Eye View" blog. The retailer is making "a commitment to reinvest in [its] almost 600 Mid-Atlantic stores, and through the creation of a 'pipeline' of new stores," he said.

He revealed plans to open 15 to 20 stores in the company's Mid-Atlantic market every year for the next several years. Some of these stores will be relocated older stores "where we can improve the experience and offer"; others will be new stores in areas the company believes it is currently underserving.

And the much-anticipated Florida expansion looms. "This summer, we will officially fly south and enter new territory, as we open our first stores in the state of Florida, located in the greater Orlando area. This is the beginning of our migration south and the development of our new 'Wawaland' in Central Florida," Stoeckel said.

The company has a webpage devoted to its move into the Sunshine State: www.wawa.com/florida. And click here for some photos of the Florida construction progress.

(Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of Wawa's entry into Florida.)

More changes are coming in foodservice, he added. "You will see part of this reinvestment take shape through our redesigned foodservice area, which will feature a fresh, new appetizing look," he wrote. "Many of you will remember two years ago, we reinvested in our coffee area, replacing glass pots with new thermals and rebranding the area to bring our customers the freshest and most convenient cup of coffee available, in the most aesthetically pleasing way. Now, we will turn our attention to the foodservice area as we add new graphics and digital signage in all stores, and test the baking of rolls in approximately 40 of our stores. "Later in the year, we will invest in all stores again--adding new equipment enabling us to add a full line of built-to-order specialty beverages including espressos and cappuccinos."

Stoeckel also discussed the company's philosophy of change. He said, "It's our view that retailers who don't change and remain relevant, run the risk of vanishing from the retail landscape. ... For us, change and reinvention is a solid part of our history. So while we treasure our legacy stores still with us today, we could not continue to grow and reinvest back into our communities, if we were still building smaller stores without fuel. We've been evolving to meet the developing needs of our customers for more than 200 years."

Click here to read the complete blog.

Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa.,  operates more than 590 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.