The History of Wawa: From Dairy Farm to Convenience Store

Grahame Wood was determined to embrace change and meet the changing needs of the community. On April 16, 1964, the first Wawa Food Market opened in Folsom, PA, marking the beginning of a new trend in retail: the convenience store. Open before and after traditional supermarkets, they carried other foods and beverages besides milk, as well as other items from the Wawa dairy. The chain's name comes from the site of the company's first dairy plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa, Pennsylvania area.

Wawa may also be known or related to 11 additional claims in Esquega Township, Wawa, Wawa, Wawa Inc and Wawa, Inc. Wawa operates stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D. C. In some Jersey Shore cities, Wawa designs its stores to match aesthetics, and changes operating procedures to adapt to coastal culture.

The story of Wawa began in 1902 when George Wood purchased the Rocky Run dairy farm in Delaware County and transformed it into the Wawa dairy farm through large investments in land, livestock and infrastructure. As the milk delivery business declined in the 1960s, Wood's grandson Grahame realized that customers were buying more from supermarkets and thought that Wawa could distribute his products that way. The first Wawa store opened its doors in April 1964 in Folsom, Pennsylvania. Since then, Wawa has achieved many feats, expanding and modifying its offerings for customers while maintaining the same general philosophy of convenience.

In 1985, Wawa partnered with PNC Bank to facilitate no-fee ATM transactions for its customers in 6 states. In 1992, Wawa formalized ownership of its associates with its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and shares were awarded to associates annually based on prior year service. Whether you're a daily customer of Wawa or have only heard stories about the convenience store chain that has Oscar winner Kate Winslet among its fans, here are some things you might not know about the best place in the world to buy a sandwich, iced tea and Tastykakes. Some communities have multiple Wawa locations but for many customers only one will suffice when they need a cup of coffee or a snack often resulting in driving farther than necessary to “their Wawa”.

Wawa has become an integral part of many people's lives over the years. It is a customer who is by first name with the employees of her local Wawa and was even forced to create social media groups full of people who affirm their love not only for Wawa but for the specific Wawa location they visit most often.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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