The Wawa story began in 1803 as an iron foundry in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In 1890, George Wood, a businessman from New Jersey, moved to the area and established the Wawa dairy farm. At the time, pasteurization was not yet available, so many children became ill from consuming raw milk. Wood ordered doctors to certify that his milk was healthy and safe for consumption, convincing many consumers to buy the product.
This strategy worked and allowed the Wawa dairy to grow rapidly during the 1920s. Wawa began using the slogan 'Buy Health by the Bottle' and served customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, delivering milk to customers' homes. Wawa Food Market stores were also part of a new trend in retail, the convenience store. Open before and after traditional supermarkets, they carried other food and drinks besides milk, as well as other items from the Wawa dairy.
In 1977, Wawa began sharing ownership of the company with its associates through profit-sharing plans. In 1992, Wawa formalized ownership of its associates with its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and shares were awarded to associates annually based on the prior year's service. Because the company is a private company, Wawa ensures an independent assessment of the value of its shares at regular intervals to ensure that the ESOP is fairly maintained. Today, ESOP accounts for more than 40% of Wawa shares. Beginning in the 1940s, the dairy plant began selling excess plots of land. In 1964, he sold some 40 acres to the Franklin Mint.
Several years before 1989, the dairy sold 25 acres of land to a retirement complex, Granite Farms Estates. The process of selling surplus land continued sporadically. Wawa offers products found in most convenience store chains, such as chips, beverages and soft drinks. Wawa also sells its own brand of iced tea, orange juice and milk. Wawa sold its own brand of soft drinks, but it has been discontinued.
Wawa has Coca-Cola Freestyle soda fountains. The convenience store retailer announced that it plans to expand its presence in the Florida Panhandle and adjacent markets in South Alabama in the coming years. The official move is the beginning of a new period of aggressive expansion with the aim of doubling the number of stores in the chain. In addition, the chain has plans to enter new adjacent markets in the coming years. Wawa plans to nearly double its number of stores by 2030 to approximately 1,800 locations, CEO Chris Gheysens also told the Philadelphia Business Journal. Wawa “will fill the Virginia-Florida market along the I-95 corridor throughout the decade” Gheysens told the newspaper. Characterized as “the most aggressive growth in the chain's history” this expansion will include “traditional neighborhood stores” and “non-traditional rest stop-style formats” in existing and new markets.
Some of these new locations will include drive-thrus which Wawa began testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 49 states and territories in the U. S. UU. without any Wawa location; one location per 88,752 people accounting for approximately 24% of total number of Wawa locations.
There are 7 states and territories in United States with Wawa locations; one location per 32,298 people accounting for approximately 28% of total number of Wawa locations. Its founder probably wouldn't recognize Wawa today as it expands all over East Coast and boldly tries to get out of gas station ghetto to compete with companies like Panera, Starbucks and Sweetgreen. Wood kept Wawa private but he also began handing it over to non-family leaders more than a decade ago betting that best way to secure Wawa's future was to separate him from his founding family. A half mile from renewed Wawa celebrations in larger newer Wawa with gas pumps outside and tables in back General Training Manager Denise Haley is overseeing operations constantly adds Rich who left role at Coca-Cola and spent two years working shifts at wawa stores 24 hours a day before his father let him into headquarters. In early 2000s Dick also gave interviews for articles that named his nephew then president and chief financial officer of Wawa, Thère du Pont (yes those du Ponts) as his successor. Although Wawa is family business Wawa associates own approximately 50% of company more than 40% which is owned through company's employee stock ownership program. So to finally walk through door of a Wawa, I don't know why I thought 'Oh yes I'm here I belong.' Current CEO Chris Gheysens is changing Tesla charging stations kale salads and coffee in small batches most which customers can order on their phones (or Wawa's ubiquitous touchscreens). According to 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer article estimates those who do live in Wawa range from about five families.