Week of Wawa: Milestones in the Retailer's History (Slideshow)

A look at the former iron foundry's move from one c-store to industry leader

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WAWA, Pa. -- Even as Wawa Inc. celebrates the 50th anniversary of opening its first convenience store, the company really has more than 200 years of history in American business.

Wawa Inc., a privately held company, began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Toward the end of the 19th Century, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming, and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, Pa., in 1902. The milk business was a success, due to its quality, cleanliness and “certified” process.

As home delivery of milk declined in the early 1960s, Grahame Wood, George’s grandson, opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products. Today, the Wawa owns and operates a chain of over 640 convenience stores (380 offering gasoline) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

Here's a look at some of the company's milestones:

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers