Wawa Inc.

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Wawa, Inc.
TypePrivate, owned by Wild Goose Holding Co.
IndustryConvenience store
Gas station
Fast food
Founder(s)Grahame Wood
HeadquartersChester Heights, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Number of locations590+[1]
Key peopleHoward Stoeckel, CEO
ProductsCoffee, sandwiches, prepared foods, gasoline, beverages, dairy products
RevenueIncrease US$ 6.9 billion (2011)[2]}
Net incomeIncrease US$ 308 million (2011)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 1.57 billion (2011)[2]
  (Redirected from Wawa Food Markets)
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Wawa, Inc.
TypePrivate, owned by Wild Goose Holding Co.
IndustryConvenience store
Gas station
Fast food
Founder(s)Grahame Wood
HeadquartersChester Heights, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Number of locations590+[1]
Key peopleHoward Stoeckel, CEO
ProductsCoffee, sandwiches, prepared foods, gasoline, beverages, dairy products
RevenueIncrease US$ 6.9 billion (2011)[2]}
Net incomeIncrease US$ 308 million (2011)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 1.57 billion (2011)[2]

Wawa Inc. is a chain of convenience store/gas stations located along the East Coast of the United States. It operates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. The company's corporate headquarters is located in the Wawa area of Chester Heights, Pennsylvania in Greater Philadelphia. As of 2002 and as of 2008, Wawa is the largest convenience store chain in Greater Philadelphia, and it is also the third largest retailer of food in Greater Philadelphia, after ACME Markets and ShopRite.[3][4] As of 2008, within New Jersey, Wawa stores are concentrated in South Jersey.[5]



Old Wawa logo used from 1990-2004. This logo is still in use at many locations.

In the early 19th century Richard D. Wood ran a store in Greenwich, New Jersey selling items grown on his farm. It was 1803 when David Wood became a part owner of a furnace that sold stove plates through the firm of Smith and Wood. About a century later,[citation needed] George Wood, a businessperson from New Jersey,[6] moved to Delaware County, Pennsylvania. It was here that he started to operate the Wawa Dairy Farm.[citation needed] The Wawa business began in 1890. Wood imported cows from Guernsey and bought 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land in the community of Wawa in Pennsylvania. Wood arranged for some doctors to certify that his milk was sanitary and safe for consumption; this convinced many consumers to buy his milk, since at the time many children faced sickness from raw milk as pasteurization was not yet available. Cynthia Mayer of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that the "marvelous marketing strategy" "apparently worked, and the Wawa dairy grew and grew and grew" in the age when milk was delivered to the consumers' houses.[6]

During the 1920s, when the demand for dairy products grew rapidly, so did the company. Wawa Dairy Farms later used the slogan "Buy Health by the Bottle" and with that the farm was reaching customers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, in the 1960s demand for home delivery of milk products declined, leading to the development of the Wawa Food Market.[citation needed]

In the 1960s, consumers began buying milk in stores instead of using home delivery. To adjust to the market changes, Wawa began opening its own convenience stores in order to sell its milk.[6] On April 16, 1964, Wawa Food Markets opened its first store under the guidance of Grahame Wood,[7] in Folsom, Ridley Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.[4]


The original location is still open, and many Wood family members are still active within the company as of July 2009. Although Wawa is a family-run business, the employees of Wawa also hold a relatively large percentage of stock. Most Wawas are open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The chain's name comes from the site of the company's first milk plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa, Pennsylvania area. The name of the town Wawa is in turn derived from the Ojibwe word for the Canada Goose (taken from "The Song of Hiawatha").[8] An image of a goose in flight serves as the Wawa corporate logo.[9]

A Wawa in Sewell, New Jersey.
A typical Super-Wawa gas station in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Interior of a Wawa, with a line showing various coffees.

As of 1989, the convenience stores, which numbered around 400, generated $450 million ($843.7 million in today's money) per year, making up 95% of Wawa Inc.'s revenues. Cynthia Mayer of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that the dominance of the convenience store market is "making the whole town, dairy and Canada goose history a severe case of the tail wagging the dog."[10] Wawa sells over 195 million cups of coffee a year.[11] Wawa was among the first convenience stores to implement self-serve computer touch-screen menus for food orders, in an attempt to improve accuracy. It can potentially be used as gateways to up-selling, as well.

The current president and CEO of Wawa is Howard Stoeckel.[12] Eleuthère (Thère) du Pont has served as both the CFO and president, but is no longer associated with the company. Richard D. (Dick) Wood, Jr. is chairman of the board of directors.

In 2011, Wawa ranked 47th on the Forbes Magazine list of the largest private companies.[13] As of July 2011, Wawa employs 18,000 in 600+ stores (210 offering gasoline) and had total revenues of $6.99 billion in 2011.[14] Since 1996, many Wawa stores have been relocated to "Super Wawas," with 12-20 gasoline pumps, and all new Wawas constructed are of the "Super Wawa" variety (though not all feature gas stations). Wawa, for the most part, covers the parts of Pennsylvania not already covered by fast-growing in-state rivals Sheetz and Turkey Hill Mini Marts.

In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Wawa engaged in a scholarship sponsorship program that involved Irish students (mainly from UCC in Cork, Ireland) running a considerable number of stores on the Pennsylvania Main Line. This was a successful program that allowed the students to study for their MBAs from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.[15]

In 1994, Wawa opened a store in Center City, Philadelphia which sells fast food only; no groceries are sold.[16]

In 2003, Wawa and McLane Co. reached a 30-year agreement to construct a distribution center in Carney's Point, NJ to handle the majority of Wawa's distribution needs.[17][18] The center began operation in May 2004.[18]

In 2005, Wawa partnered with JPMorgan Chase to offer a Visa credit card branded with the Wawa name. It ceased issuing new cards in December 2007, and as of November 2010 the program has been canceled.[19]

In 2006, the "I Love Wawa" MySpace page had over 5,000 members. The "We Love Wawa" page on Livejournal had about 950 members.[20]

In the spring of 2007, Wawa began offering its own line of soda in its stores. In the summer of 2008, Wawa introduced a special on their hoagie line called "Hoagiefest", which offered a price reduction on four selected varieties of their "Shorti" size hoagies, each variety on sale for a two-week period in an eight-week rotation. The Hoagiefest ad campaign relied on a style very reminiscent of The Beatles, using 1960s psychedelic imagery and songs. "Hoagiefest" has been revived in the summers of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and it was expanded in 2010 by both length of time and that two styles of hoagies are available at any particular time.[21] The John Lennon-esque character's name is Kotter Doppelgänger.

On February 12, 2010, KYW-TV announced on their 4:00 pm broadcast that Wawa would become the primary sponsor of the Welcome America series of Independence Day celebrations in Philadelphia, starting on July 4, 2010. The previous sponsor was Sunoco.

On June 30, 2010, 20 Wawa locations in Pennsylvania started selling Pennsylvania Lottery tickets from automated kiosks as a trial to explore whether to expand the service to all Pennsylvania stores. On December 6, 2010, it was announced that all 210 Pennsylvania Wawa locations would sell lottery tickets from kiosks by Spring 2011.[22]

On October 21, 2010, Wawa began testing the sale of diesel fuel at 12 of its New Jersey locations because of the increase in use among cars. If the test runs well, all locations with fuel may have diesel fuel within two years.[23]

Corporate affairs

As of 1989, Wawa Inc. and the Wood family together control about 725 acres (293 ha) of land, containing the corporate headquarters, the Wawa dairy farm, and J.T. Farms, within two municipalities in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The properties are located in Chester Heights and Middletown Township[disambiguation needed]. Wawa Inc. owns 50 acres (20 ha) of land around "Red Roof," the corporate headquarters, 150 acres (61 ha) of land around the Wawa dairy, and the 225-acre (91 ha) J.T. Farms. The Wood family owns 300 acres (120 ha) of estate property. Cynthia Mayer of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that, as a result of the land holdings, the Wood family was "the closest thing to a feudal barony this side of du Pont."[6]

Corporate headquarters

"Red Roof" at Wawa headquarters in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania

The company's corporate headquarters is located in the Wawa area, along Baltimore Pike[24][25] in Chester Heights.[26][27] The headquarters is in proximity to Middletown Township.[28] As of 2011 about 300 employees work in the headquarters. The Borough of Chester Heights receives a majority of its local services tax from employees of Wawa.[26]

Wawa Dairy Farms

The old Wawa Dairy Farms building in Wawa, Pennsylvania

Wawa Maintains the Wawa Dairy Farms along Route 1 in the Wawa community and in Middletown Township.[24][6]

As of 1989, it produces all of the milk sold in Wawa stores. Beginning in the 1940s the dairy facility began selling excess parcels of land. In 1964 the dairy sold about 40 acres (16 ha) to the Franklin Mint. Several years prior to 1989, the dairy sold 25 acres (10 ha) of land to a retirement complex, the Granite Farms Estates. The process of selling excess land continued sporadically as of 1989. As of 1989 the company planned to expand the dairy to keep up with demand.[6]

As of 1989, to establish a rural atmosphere, Wawa Inc. keeps heifers along Route 1 in a strip of land adjacent to the plant; the cows do not produce milk. Fritz Schroeder, the vice president of Wawa Inc., said in 1989 that "[w]e like them for the ambiance."[29]

Wawa Dairy is a dairy processor that produces its own line of milk, ice cream, iced teas, juices, and fruit drinks. George Wood started Wawa Dairy Farms in 1902 with a small herd of cows and a processing and bottling plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania. This early dairy operation was famous for its "Doctor Approved" pasteurized milk. In the early 20th century, Wawa's milkmen were so well trusted by their clients that many of them were given the keys to the households that they delivered to, so that they could simply let themselves in and place the milk in the ice box. In the summer of 2002, Wawa Dairy celebrated its 100th anniversary by having a week-long "thirst aid tour" where it delivered over 100,000 cold beverages to those who needed them the most. Wawa partnered with local food banks in an attempt to raise awareness of the ongoing need for support.[citation needed]

J.T. Farms

Wawa Inc. owns the 225-acre (91 ha) J.T. Farms, a separate farm property. As of 1989 Wawa Inc. leases it to Bill Faul, who maintained a herd of 100 Holstein cattle and paid $1,500 (currently $2812.35) per month. Faul said that he ships his milk to Acme Markets instead of Wawa due to, as paraphrased by Cynthia Mayer of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "the complexities of the state's dairy farm cooperative."[6] Wawa continued to own the farm due to symbolic reasons related to the Wawa community.[6]


Wawa offers products found at most convenience chain marts such as chips, drinks and soda. Wawa also sells their own branded water, iced tea, soda, orange juice, and milk. Key products include its variety of coffee and cappuccino flavors and sizes, and its made-to-order hoagies. Wawa also offers a brand of hot breakfast products, most famous of which is the "Sizzli", and also a full deli with touch-screen ordering of sandwiches, hot sides, and deli meats. The "Super Wawa" sites, in addition to being larger stores, also provide gasoline.[30] Wawa also advertises its state minimum-priced cigarettes. Wawa sells beer in Florida, Maryland, and Virginia.

For a short time between 1994 and 1996, Wawa sold Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizzas and Taco Bell burritos.[16]

Unlike many other convenience stores, most Wawas do not sell lottery tickets, although twenty stores in Pennsylvania started selling tickets on June 30, 2010 (see above).

Advertising slogans

Store locations by state

Wawa footprint as of July 2012.

As of April 2010, Wawa has 570 locations across Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.[31]

Wawa's territory once stretched into North Jersey, New York and Connecticut, but in the late 1990s, the decision was made to abandon the New York metropolitan area and New England, as it was too competitive. The abandoned stores were re-branded when they were sold to Krauszer's (in Connecticut) and a variety of other convenience retailers, but most are still recognizable as they retain their distinctive "Wawa" design. The company continued to operate numerous stores in Central and South Jersey, and re-entered North Jersey in 2010, when Wawa opened a new store in Parsippany.[32]

In 2010, Wawa announced it would be expanding into Central Florida. On July 18, 2012, Wawa opened its first location in Orlando. The company plans to open 15 stores in the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas over a period of two years, and around 100 over a period of five years.[33]

Jersey Shore locations

In some towns in the Jersey Shore Wawa designs its stores to match the aesthetic and changes its operating procedures to adapt to the shore culture. It is the only retailer on the island of Cape May to have a significant number of stores. In Cape May City Wawa has a Victorian-themed store. In Wildwood Wawa has a 1950s-themed store.[34]


  1. ^ http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/cms_docs/FloridaGroundbreaking.pdf
  2. ^ a b c "#47 Wawa". Forbes. 2012. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/21/private-companies-11_Wawa_ZHC5.html. 
  3. ^ "Wawa's wonders of retailing, The dairy and convenience-store chain is marking 100 years." Philadelphia Inquirer. August 5, 2002. D01. Retrieved on December 21, 2011. "Wawa not only dominates the convenience-store business in the Philadelphia region but is also the third-largest food retailer, trailing only Acme Markets and ShopRite." and "To boost sales, the company opened its first Wawa Food Market in 1964 in Folsom, Delaware County. Stores now spread from central Pennsylvania and central New Jersey to southern Virginia. In the 1970s, the company began selling more coffee by the cup,[...]"
  4. ^ a b Wood, Anthony R. (April 16, 2009). "A little dairy with a big idea How success came to Wawa". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://articles.philly.com/2009-04-16/news/25287891_1_wawa-coffee-sellers-professor-of-food-marketing. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Strauss, Robert. "North Jersey or South? A Search for the Line." The New York Times. July 13, 2008. Retrieved on December 23, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Mayer, Cynthia. "Pay A Visit To Wawa, The Place." Philadelphia Inquirer. June 15, 1989. D4. p. 3. Retrieved on September 16, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Wawa — About Wawa — Milestones" (.swf, .html). http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/Timeline.aspx. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Native American Words in Longfellow's Hiawatha". http://www.native-languages.org/hiawatha.htm. Retrieved August 9, 2006. 
  9. ^ It is said that the goose was chosen because the company employs the principles of teamwork, group consensus and encouragement which is found among the geese community. Note that the Wawa Corporate webpage correctly says "Wawa" means "goose," but incorrectly claims it is a Lenape word. "Wawa > Wawa Profile > Company Profile". http://www.wawa.com/wawaprofile/pro-home.asp. Retrieved August 9, 2006. 
  10. ^ Mayer, Cynthia. "Pay A Visit To Wawa, The Place." Philadelphia Inquirer. June 15, 1989. D4. p. 2. Retrieved on September 16, 2012. "Part of it is in Middletown, and part of it is in Chester Heights Borough. Because Wawa predates both municipalities - as a settlement, it even predates Delaware[...]"
  11. ^ Wawa > Food Choices > Coffee
  12. ^ "Howard B. Stoeckel Profile". Forbes. http://people.forbes.com/profile/howard-b-stoeckel/5363. Retrieved October 16, 2008. 
  13. ^ [1] Accessed July 19, 2012
  14. ^ "The Largest Private Companies - Forbes.com". Forbes. November 16, 2011. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/21/private-companies-11_Wawa_ZHC5.html. 
  15. ^ The program has now been changed to Northern Ireland http://www.sju.edu/ucomm/archives/2003/december/hawkeye_12082003.html
  16. ^ a b Westfeldt, Amy. "Convenience Stores in the '90s." Associated Press at the Warsaw Times-Union. Saturday July 27, 1996. 10C. Retrieved from Google News (14/39) on January 1, 2011.
  17. ^ Katherine Doherty (9 September 2009). "Golden Pallet Award - A Unique Partnership That Delivers". Food Logistics. http://www.foodlogistics.com/article/10255783/golden-pallet-award. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  18. ^ a b McLane Company (April 2009). "Business Case: Third-Party Supply Chain Solutions". McLane Company. http://www.mclaneco.com/www/AnonDocs/Solutions/ThirdParty/WAWA_whitepaper.pdf. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Wawa's credit cards canceled." Philadelphia Inquirer. Thursday October 14, 2010. Retrieved on November 24, 2010.
  20. ^ Walker, Rob. "Convenience Cult?" The New York Times. July 30, 2006. Retrieved on December 23, 2011.
  21. ^ Official Hoagiefest website Retrieved July 2, 2010
  22. ^ [2][dead link]
  23. ^ http://www.cspnet.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&AudID=CBA745B91AFB44FA923476ACBBD040A5&tier=4&id=E6DDDEBA76D9433B9D01DFF2677E37CB
  24. ^ a b Mayer, Cynthia. "Pay A Visit To Wawa, The Place." Philadelphia Inquirer. June 15, 1989. D4. p. 1. Retrieved on September 16, 2012.
  25. ^ "About Wawa." Wawa Inc. Retrieved on February 18, 2011. "Headquarters Red Roof, Baltimore Pike Wawa, Pennsylvania 19063."
  26. ^ a b Stark, Kenn. "Chester Heights mulls options in light of proposed tax hike." Delaware County Daily Times. Monday December 5, 2011. Retrieved on September 16, 2012. "Currently, about 300 Wawa employees work at the Red Roof corporate headquarters in Chester Heights."
  27. ^ "Borough of Chester Heights Zoning Map." (Archive) Borough of Chester Heights. Retrieved on September 16, 2012.
  28. ^ "Stores Post Billboard Ads for Tobacco, Despite Ban." The New York Times. May 9, 1999. Retrieved on December 23, 2011.
  29. ^ Mayer, Cynthia. "Pay A Visit To Wawa, The Place." Philadelphia Inquirer. June 15, 1989. D4. p. 4. Retrieved on September 16, 2012.
  30. ^ Wawa Food
  31. ^ "Press Release: 2010 Environmental Community Service Award". http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/cms_docs/2010%20Fifth%20Annual%20Environmental%20Community%20Service%20Award%20-%20Release.pdf. Retrieved November 16, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Wawa's Parsippany store will be its northern-most location". Monday June 14, 2010. http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2010/06/wawas_parsippany_store_will_be.html. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Florida's first Wawa opens today in Orlando, Orlando". Central Florida News 13. July 18, 2012. http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2012/7/18/florida_s_first_wawa.html. 
  34. ^ Warner, Susan (August 14, 2005). "Mom and Pop Hold Sway At the Shore". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/14njCHAINS.html?pagewanted=all. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 

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