What Does Wawa Stand For?

Wawa is a native Ojibwe word meaning “goose”, and it's also the name of a convenience store chain that has been around since the 1960s. Wawa has become a beloved brand in the US, with nearly 1,000 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D. C. It's renowned for its customer service, scrupulously clean bathrooms, decent gas prices, free air for their tires, and free ATMs.

Plus, it offers a wide range of pre-packaged foods and pastries for breakfast, all fresh and relatively inexpensive. When Wawa first opened its doors in Pennsylvania, it featured local brands of sandwiches and bread. This parochial feel and identity has been maintained even though the chain has expanded outward. It's easy to order because Wawa was one of the first places to use touchscreen self-service menus.

Plus, they're very active on social media, responding daily with jokes and offers for gifts and coupons from Wawa and helping to build community. The story of Wawa began with George Wood who was interested in dairy farming. He bought a Victorian house with a red roof in Wawa, PA and the Wood family went into the dairy processing business promising safe and certified sanitary milk. Bruce said that since opening its first store here, Wawa has sold enough sandwiches to spread between Jacksonville and Miami more than eight times.

In the Solomon Islands in northeastern Australia, Marau Wawa is a small island whose last remaining Wawans died about a century ago, along with their language. However, some of its words have been preserved. For example, birds like yellow-naped Amazon parrots (Amazona auropalliata) in northern Costa Rica croak “Wawa” at each other when they gather. Wawa has also taken legal action against companies that use names that are too close to theirs.

In 1997 they sued an Allentown business for using their name in signs, menus, advertising and other material. “We couldn't be more excited to bring Wawa's unique brand and offering to these new markets in the near future” said John Poplawski, vice president of real estate at Wawa.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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