The Fascinating History of Wawa: From Iron Foundry to Convenience Store

From its humble beginnings as an iron foundry in 1803, Wawa, Inc. has come a long way to become the beloved dairy and hoagie-focused convenience store that it is today. After the company moved to Wawa, Pennsylvania in 1902, they entered the dairy business and opened their first Wawa store 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.

With more than 750 locations spread across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, Wawa is slowly making its way to East Coast convenience store dominance. 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. In the middle of the 20th century, with the fall of the textile business, the family sold the factories and turned their attention to a dairy business they had launched in Wawa, Pennsylvania.

With the fall of the milk delivery business in the early 1960s, the company moved to Wawa stores and opened their 900th store in New Jersey on June 18. Today, Wawa is a 7-11 with a special place in many hearts. It straddles cheap and delicious and offers convenient souvenirs for customers. After hours on a surfboard, a Wawa sandwich tastes like something that has come down from the Olympus dining tables. In 1977, Wawa began sharing ownership of the company with its associates through profit-sharing plans.

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 this amazing place. Seven thousand consumers surveyed by Market Force gave Wawa a composite loyalty score of 68 percent - ahead of other stores such as QuikTrip (62 percent) and Sheetz (59 percent). When winter arrived, Wawa was one of the few businesses that remained open during the tourist exodus and freezing winds. It also opened up an area east of Union Lake in Millville to residential development in the 1960s.

From iron foundry to convenience store chain - Wawa has come a long way! With its delicious food offerings and convenient services, it's no wonder why it has become so popular among customers. The data presented on this page does not represent the opinion of Wawa and its employees or that of Zippia.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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