Wawa revealed plans to open non-traditional travel centers in its existing markets and new markets such as North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio in coming years, Chris Gheysens, CEO of Wawa, said during the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s recent economic outlook meeting, according to a report by The Philadelphia Business Journal.
Travel centers will help close the gap in Wawa outposts between its Mid-Atlantic and Florida markets, Gheysens said. This will offer long-distance travelers more options for where to refuel or grab a snack.
The locations won’t have overnight availability, but they will offer accommodations for “light-duty vehicles” carrying individual and family travelers, as well as single-day commercial truckers, Gheysens said.
“Think of it as a Wawa on steroids,” Gheysens told the newspaper. “A lot bigger of a store, a lot bigger of an offer, a lot bigger of a parking lot, more amenities.”
Implementing these travel centers will take a while, Gheysens said, because they're bigger and will be located in “more high-profile locations” on major highways, such as I-95. The next step in the company's planning process is identifying the best locations for the travel centers. Due to the length of the planning stage and approvals needed, a spokesperson for Wawa said an opening of one of these stores is most likely five years away.
He first hinted at opening these travel centers last April, telling the Business Journal that the company plans to almost double its store count to operate around 1,800 stores by 2030.
The convenience-store chain currently has a few "quasi-travel centers" throughout its existing markets in locations such as Allentown, Pennsylvania, and off I-95 in Virginia, Gheysens said, and these centers have performed well for the company over their years in operation.
Wawa, based in Wawa, Pennsylvania, has more than 950 c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.
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