WAWA, Pennsylvania – With plans to double its footprint over the next decade, Wawa Inc. is focused on the Florida Panhandle region, as well as adjacent markets in southern Alabama.
The convenience retailer is “actively seeking” sites for new stores in the Florida markets of Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee, as well as Mobile, Ala. Wawa currently plans to open up to 40 convenience stores in these markets. The first stores are expected to welcome customers in 2024.
“Over the years we have been delighted to hear from so many people from so many regions who want to have a Wawa closer to home. We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring the unique brand of Wawa and offer these new markets in the near future,” said John Poplawski, Vice President of Real Estate at Wawa. “We look forward to expanding beyond our current reach and serving these new markets with our quality fresh food and beverages. and, as always, our deep commitment to the communities in which we operate.”
This summer will mark the 10th anniversary of Wawa’s entry into Florida. The retailer welcomed customers to the first store, across from SeaWorld Orlando, on July 18, 2012. Then-CEO Howard Stoeckel said the move to the east coast took 10 years .
Over the past decade, Wawa has expanded statewide and will open its 250th convenience store in the Sunshine State later this year. In total, Wawa employs nearly 10,000 associates in Florida.
Wawa also plans to expand in its existing markets and is expected to open 54 new stores in 2022. It also plans to enter new adjacent markets over the next few years.
CEO Chris Gheysens recently told the business diary as the retailer prepares for its “most aggressive growth” in company history. As a result, the retailer will roughly double the number of its stores over the next decade.
Today, the locally-based Wawa operates approximately 965 convenience stores throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, DC. year.
Additionally, the retailer is looking for sites to enter North Carolina, such as Convenience store news reported last month. This will be Wawa’s first new market since opening in Washington, DC in late 2017.
Wawa’s growth will consist of a mix of traditional and non-traditional stores, including potential rest area-style stores positioned on I-95. The convenience retailer will also continue to build new stand-alone drive-thru stores and plans to open two in Pennsylvania this year, with more stand-alone drive-thru stores expected to open in Florida next year.
Wawa opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products. He celebrated the 58th anniversary of his first on April 14.