The family behind the Wawa chain of convenience stores and gas stations. Known for its selection of made-to-order foods purchased through touch screens. Nearly 200 descendants of George Wood own less than half of Wawa today; employees own more than 40% of the company through its Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Wawa's business began in 1803 as an iron foundry.
In 1890, George Wood, a businessman from New Jersey, moved to Delaware County, Pennsylvania; it was here that the Wawa dairy farm began. Wood imported cows from the British Crown island of Guernsey and purchased 400 ha of land in the Chester Heights area; the corporate headquarters would later be renamed Wawa. Since pasteurization was not yet available, 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.
The strategy worked and allowed the Wawa dairy to grow. Demand for dairy products grew rapidly during the 1920s, and so did the company. Wawa began using the slogan Buy Health by the Bottle; they served customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, delivering milk to customers' homes.
Wawa FoodMarket 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. A retro-style Wawa in Wildwood, New Jersey The Largest Wawa Store, at 6th Street and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Location in the Farragut Square neighborhood in downtown Washington, D. Dick Wood also spent the 1990s figuring out how to manage his family. Wawa's property was mostly divided between two separate family trusts, and a trustee began trying to force a sale or IPO.
In 1998, the company sold a stake to an investment group controlled by the McNeil family, the heirs of Tylenol, who, within five years, tried to force Wawa to go public. Starting with a small dairy farm and processing plant, George Wood, the owner of Wawa, wanted to differentiate his product from the competition. At a time when pasteurization was not widely available, George requested that doctors certify their sanitary products and facilities to help ease the minds of people who distrust contaminated milk. Constantly, adds Rich, who left a role at Coca-Cola and spent two years working shifts at wawa stores 24 hours a day before his father let him into headquarters.
Beyond the occasional cameo in the book, or an annual trip to a resort for top managers, Haley and other longtime employees have been well-rewarded for their tenure at Wawa, thanks to the company's ESOP, which by some accounts is the second largest in the U. My parents from the Midwest moved to Delaware County in Pennsylvania, home to the Wawa headquarters and many of its stores, when I was 6 years old. Wawa operates stores in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D. And Wawa is not, or rather was, an exception to the point where they managed to get the City of Philadelphia to amend its tobacco laws in relation to who could sell cigarettes.
We can turn to Wawa for the answer; they were way ahead of the curve when they introduced touchscreen orders across their entire line of stores in 2002, nearly a decade before they appeared elsewhere. Before the change, Wawa officials said the company was moving from being owned by Wood's heirs and senior executives to being owned by employees. Growing up in a tourist town with a dual personality nestled on a barrier island, I intimately got to know Wawa, apparently a convenience store, at least on the outside, but on the inside, much more. The Woods also crossed paths with other local, politically connected dynasties; the chemically renowned du Ponts and the McNeils, of the Tylenol fortune, play secondary roles in Wawa's story.
To this day, the quality of its brand products has always been Wawa's greatest strength, and why die-hard fans keep coming back. Those workers were also well rewarded, as their retirement accounts increased in value as Wawa's sales and profits increased. In an anecdote, Haley made a house visit to a regular, an 89-year-old woman who fell and contacted the Wawa for help, and drove her to the ER. The chain's name comes from the site of the company's first dairy plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa, Pennsylvania area.
Most of the heavy lifting happens in Wawa's shiny new headquarters, in a 10,000-square-foot test kitchen populated by chefs, nutritionists, food scientists and beverage specialists. Wawa's ability to sell so quickly depends on technology, tightly controlled supply chain operations, and a group expansion strategy that establishes most of the new stores close to other Wawas. . .