If only real estate weren't so expensive, Wawa would have already expanded to New York City. The convenience store retailer recently announced that it plans to expand its presence in the Florida Panhandle and adjacent markets in South Alabama in the coming years. This is the beginning of a new period of aggressive expansion with the aim of doubling the number of stores in the chain. Wawa plans to nearly double its number of stores by 2030 to approximately 1,800 locations, CEO Chris Gheysens told the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The chain will fill the Virginia-Florida market along the I-95 corridor throughout the decade, and will also enter new adjacent markets in the coming years. Some of these new locations will include drive-thrus, a format that Wawa began testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wawa owns all its stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. It has no stores in the state of New York yet, but CEO Chris Gheysens has expressed interest in bringing Wawa to cities like New York or other big and expensive cities on the East Coast.
Wawa has been around since the late 19th century when owner George Wood became interested in dairy production and started a small processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania. The chain's name comes from this site. Since then, Wawa has expanded rapidly across the state and will open its 250th store in Florida later this year. Wawa offers a brand of hot breakfast items, including Sizzli, as well as a delicatessen shop complete with touchscreen orders for sandwiches, hot sides, drinks and cold cuts.
Open before and after traditional supermarkets, they carry other food and drinks besides milk, as well as other items from the Wawa dairy. Currently, there are 7 states and territories in the United States with Wawa locations. One location per 52,040 people, with approximately 25% of the total number of Wawa locations. It remains to be seen if Wawa will come to New York City or other big cities on the East Coast.
But with its aggressive expansion plans and commitment to providing quality products and services to customers, it's only a matter of time before we see Wawa stores popping up all over.