KEARNY, N.J. -- Wawa Inc. has announced the grand opening of its northernmost store, located in Kearny in Hudson County, N.J. The store is the first of three that will open in the first half of 2013 in the North Jersey region.
After Wawa's first grand opening on in Northern Jersey, Wawa will continue to expand in the North Jersey market over the next six months, with two additional stores located in Woodbridge and Elizabeth.
Wawa will begin to enter additional Northern North Jersey counties in 2014 and 2015, with the northernmost store to be located in Bergen County. Throughout the North Jersey market, Wawa plans to open more than 10 stores by the end of 2015, with five new stores opening in both 2014 and 2015.
Wawa recently opened its 100th New Jersey location with gasoline, the 602nd in the chain and 237th in the state. Wawa is also expanding in Florida.
"We are thrilled to spread our wings into northern New Jersey and to celebrate this exciting occasion with honored friends and guests. We have a deeply rooted history in New Jersey and are ecstatic to soon provide all New Jersey residents with our unique brand of appetizing convenience," said Sal Mattera, Wawa's vice president of store operations.
"For years, it's been a dream of ours to expand into North Jersey, and we couldn't be happier to meet our new North Jersey family and simplify their lives on a daily basis," he said. "As we open more locations over the next few months and coming years, it's our hope for every New Jersey resident to call Wawa a member of their own community that provides support for community organizations and the unprecedented level of convenience and fresh and inviting food and beverage offer our customers rely on us for."
The new stores will each employ nearly 60 associates, all of which are new positions brought to the area through the development of the stores. Associates in these full and part-time positions will not only receive competitive salaries and health benefits, the company said, but will have the opportunity to be enrolled in Wawa's employee stock ownership (ESOP) plan.
During the event, local officials including Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, heroes, community members and performers joined Wawa executives, associates and mascots for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, parade of Wawa's history and values, sampling of Wawa products, interpretive dance performance and a charitable hoagie building competition featuring Kearny Firefighters versus Kearny Police Officers.
The grand opening was held on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:00 a.m., and will also officially kick off Wawa's partnership with three local organizations:
- Community FoodBank of New Jersey: Wawa has committed to donating a portion of hoagie sales during the first week, up to $5,000, to help fight hunger in the state,
- West Hudson Arts & Theater Co. (W.H.A.T.): Wawa will make a contribution for a portion of every ticket sold in 2013 (up to $1,500) to the W.H.A.T. Scholarship fund for area high school students.
- Literacy Volunteers of West Hudson: Wawa is making a contribution to help increase basic English literacy skills among adults.
The grand opening kicked off with a soloist from the W.H.A.T. Community Chorus performing the national anthem.
Wawa's director of store operations, Jim Shortall, took center stage, discussing Wawa's culture and values. He introduced the Wawa Through the Ages parade, which visually highlights Wawa's key milestones. The parade features associates wearing oversized foam-board photos of everything from Wawa's famous milk man, to everyone's favorite hoagies, to the evolution of coffee cups.
Mattera spoke about this milestone occasion and the expected local and community impact Wawa hopes to have throughout North Jersey. Santos then spoke about the significance of Wawa to the local community.
A W.H.A.T. dancer performed an interpretive dance choreographed to show what Wawa's new store and partnership mean to Kearny and the theater company.
Click here to view a slideshow of the store opening in The Jersey Journal.
A chain of more than 600 convenience retail outlets (300 with gasoline), Wawa stores are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.