The History of Wawa: From Physician-Certified Milk to 850 Stores

It is an American chain of convenience stores and service stations located along the east coast of the United States, operating in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D., C. In the early 1900s, many children were sick from drinking raw milk, so Wood had doctors endorse his product. Physician-certified milk, delivered directly to the customer's home, made the business a huge success.

In 1964, Wawa

opened its first store. In 1972, there were 100 Wawa stores open to the public.

By 1992, there were 500 stores. Today, there are more than 850 Wawa stores (more than 600 of which have gas stations). Wawa brews more than 195 million cups of coffee a year. This exclusive coffee, introduced in the 1970s, is proprietary and only available in Wawa stores. Half of the city of Wawa, Pennsylvania, is located in Middletown and the other half in Chester Heights, the official location of the company's headquarters.

According to a 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer article, estimates of those who do live in Wawa range from about five families. The first Wawa store opened in April 1964 in Folsom, Pennsylvania. The first Wawa food market opened on April 16, 1964 in Folsom, Pennsylvania, and remained in operation until June of last year, when it was replaced by a modern “Super Wawa” across the street. It owns 50 acres (20 ha) of land around Red Roof, the corporate headquarters, 150 acres (61 ha) of land around the Wawa dairy and 225 acres (91 ha) of J. Wawa began using the motto Buy Health by the Bottle; they served customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, delivering milk to customers' homes.

A resident of Philadelphia, Wood had purchased a summer home for his family in Wawa, a suburb west of Media, in 1890, and established a small plant there to process his dairy products. Although Wawa is a family business, Wawa associates own approximately 50% of the company, more than 40% of which is owned by the company's employee stock ownership program. However, only a few Wawa stores sold gasoline, and none sold beer (both a reflection of the local zoning ban and corporate philosophy), lottery tickets, or sex-oriented magazines. Open before and after traditional supermarkets, they carried other food and drinks besides milk, as well as other items from the Wawa dairy.

Wawa's charcuterie

facility manufactured more than 50,000 sandwiches a day in 1992 when Hoagie was declared Philadelphia's official sandwich through a promotion that secured 30,000 signatures to support the designation. The name of the city of Wawa is in turn derived from the word ojibwe wewe (pronounced way-way) which means snow goose despite the company's image of a Canadian goose.

The data presented on this page does not represent the opinion of Wawa and its employees or that of Zippia. Although Wawa's first store opened in 1964 in Folsom Pennsylvania it has more than 200 years of history. To evaluate their customer service Wawa had what he called the 155-second rule which denotes the average time a customer spent in a convenience store. Wawa for the most part covers parts of Pennsylvania that do not yet have rival stores like Sheetz to which Wawa is often compared due to its similar business models and its roots in Pennsylvania. The chain name comes from the site of the company's first dairy plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa Pennsylvania area. Employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current jobs at Wawa. These stores offer a selection of fresh food under the Wawa brand including delicatessen products wraps breakfast sandwiches bakery products fresh products and dairy products. 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. Wawa has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a physician-certified milk delivery service over 200 years ago.

Today it has grown into an 850-store chain with gas stations charcuterie facilities coffee brewing operations and much more. It has become an iconic part of life along America’s east coast providing customers with convenient access to quality food products and services.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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