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Wawa Opens First North Carolina Store

Kill Devil Hills location is the first of 10 to open in the state this year
Wawa
Photograph courtesy of Wawa

Wawa opened the doors to its first North Carolina store on Thursday located in Dare County at 1900 Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

  • Wawa, based in Wawa, Pennsylvania, is No. 10 on CSP’s 2024 Top 40 Update to the 2023 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by store count. Watch for the full 2024 Top 202 ranking in the June issue of CSP magazine and in CSP Daily News.

By the end of 2024, Wawa will have 10 stores open in North Carolina, nine slated to open before the end of summer. The new stores will serve Kill Devil Hills, Rocky Mount, Elizabeth City, Greenville and two stores in Wilson and Goldsboro.

In 2025, Wawa projects opening up to 11 stores in additional counties including Robeson, Pitt, Cumberland, Onslow, Johnston, Nash, Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover.

Over the next eight to 10 years, Wawa plans to build and open six to eight stores per year, reaching a total of 90 stores in North Carolina. To build each store, Wawa will invest more than $7 million per store and employ, on average, 140 contractors and local partners. Once open, each store will employ an average of 35 associates with Wawa expecting to create more than 3,000 long-term new jobs.

“We are excited to fly into North Carolina and bring our unique combination of fresh food and beverage, convenience and service to this state for the very first time,” said Brian Schaller, president of Wawa. “This historic milestone kicks off our ongoing growth and expansion in North Carolina as we continue to build new stores and create new jobs. We are also thrilled about extending our commitment to being a good neighbor to Dare County, and our partnerships with the Coast Guard Foundation and Special Olympics North Carolina Dare County athletes are examples of how we will support local causes.”

At the grand opening, local officials joined Wawa associates, Wawa’s mascots—Wally Goose and Shorti—and community partners. The first 250 customers received special milestone Wawa t-shirts. The event also included color guard and a national anthem singer from the U.S. Coast Guard and cheerleaders from Dare County Special Olympics, followed by the introduction of the store team. Conni Sanchez will serve as general manager of the store, leading a team of 35 associates.

Sanchez is pictured above, building the first Wawa hoagie in North Carolina.

Following first official “Wawa Parade through the Ages,” which visually highlighted key milestones in Wawa history, Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens spoke about the significance of the company’s first store in the state and expected local and state impact through continuing Wawa expansion in North Carolina markets.

The Wawa Foundation announced grants to community partners including $2,500 to the Coast Guard Foundation and $2,500 to Special Olympics of North Carolina.

The event also included North Carolina’s first Hoagies for Heroes charitable hoagie building contest, as members of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department, the Coast Guard Foundation and Dare County Special Olympics athletes faced off in a battle of bravery, skill and sandwich-making expertise. Each team was challenged to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way. Wawa concluded the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks on behalf of the winning and runner up teams, for $1,000 to the charities of their choice.

The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting, officially marking the company’s entrance into the state. Click here to watch a video from the grand opening.

Wawa has more than 1,000 stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. The company previously announced that it will open 80 c-stores in North Carolina, the first eight in 2024, and up to 20 in Georgia, with the first under construction in late 2023. Wawa also has revealed plans for 160 stores across the Midwest in KentuckyOhio and Indiana. And it said it plans to grow its store count in existing markets.

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