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Wawa’s South Florida Beachhead

Gas war ensues as retailer debuts three of 50 new c-stores planned for region

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. -- Wawa Inc. opened three new convenience stores in one day, March 23, marking the chain’s entrance into South Florida. The retailer hosted a “triple-header grand-opening celebration” to officially launch Wawa’s first locations in Palm Beach County, two in Palm Springs and one in Riviera Beach.

Wawa’s arrival, accompanied by gasoline priced at $1.99 per gallon, sparked a competitive gas war. The RaceTrac and Speedway stations across the street from one of the Palm Springs locations matched that price.

“We are able to offer grand-opening pricing on fuel that lasts for three days, which is in accordance with Florida’s below-cost sales law,” Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce told The Palm Beach Post.

Wawa hosted three in-store celebrations, each of which included a ribbon cutting and remarks by company executives and local officials.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our official entrance into the South Florida market as we spread our wings to serve more customers and communities and fulfill more lives each day,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s president and CEO. “Opening our first locations in Palm Beach County is a significant step toward furthering our ability to invest in Florida by building new stores and creating more jobs. We can’t wait to continue our Florida expansion and are honored to be able to open three stores on the same day.”

At each event, Gheysens and Dick Wood, Wawa chairman, discussed the retailer’s continued expansion in the Sunshine State.

Wawa has 110 stores in Florida and plans to open 30 more throughout 2017, they said.

In addition to these three stores, Wawa plans to open a total of 10 new stores in southeastern Florida in 2017, and another 10 to 12 stores in 2018. Wawa plans to make the South Florida region of Palm Beach and Broward counties home to 50 new Wawa c-stores within the next five years. Wawa will also continue to open stores statewide, they said, adding 25 to 30 Florida stores per year for the next several years.

The store openings in Palm Beach and Broward counties will bring 400 new jobs to the community, said Gheysens.

Wawa opened its first Florida c-store in July 2012 in Orlando. (Click here to take a look at that first grand opening.)

In all, Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa has approximately 750 c-stores (more than 500 offering gasoline), in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

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