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    Opening Day Set for SW Florida's First Wawa

    Bradenton store will welcome customers on Dec. 18.

    BRADENTON, Fla. — Wawa Inc. continues to stretch further south in Florida, this time with its first store in Bradenton.

    The Pennsylvania-based retailer will host a grand-opening ceremony at its first location south of St. Petersburg on Dec. 18. It will be the first of several ribbon-cutting events to take place for new stores in the region, according to the Herald-Tribune.

    "This significant step in our Florida expansion symbolizes our continued commitment to invest in the state and continue to fulfill customers’ lives every day, through our economic and community impact," said Colleen Labik, spokeswoman for Wawa.

    As part of the Bradenton celebration, Wawa will host a "Finest vs. Bravest" hoagie-building contest at the store. In addition, the Suncoast Mummers String Band of Bradenton will perform.

    According to the newspaper, Wawa has submitted site plans to build three Sarasota convenience stores as well,  including most recently a 6,119-square-foot gas station at the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and Myrtle Street. The retailer plans to build similar sized stores with 16 gas pumps on University Parkway at the southwest corner of Honore Avenue, and at Tamiami Trail and Englewood Road in Venice.

    Wawa entered Florida with much fanfare in July 2012 with the opening of its first c-store in Orlando. From there, the retailer expanded west into the Tampa market. The chain now has a total of 52 stores in the state. 

    In all, Wawa owns and operates more than 657 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida.

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