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POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Wawa Inc. took the first steps to bring its operations even further south. The Pennsylvania-based convenience store retailer broke ground this week for future Wawa stores in Pompano Beach and West Palm Beach in South Florida.
The shift to the southern part of the Sunshine State comes four years after Wawa entered Florida for the first time with a store in Orlando.
According to the South Florida Business Journal, the company now has 90 locations in Central Florida and near Tampa, and is on pace to open its 100th store in November. In all, it has more than 3,500 employees in the state.
"We had people who didn't know what a Wawa was and now they're running some of our best stores in Florida," Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said, adding that the company wants to hit the 100-store mark in South Florida as well.
"We hope over the next five years to have over 50 locations in South Florida," Gheysens told the news outlet. "We will eventually be at over 100 stores in South Florida and it means many opportunities for growth."
Wawa invests about $6 million to build each store, he said. Each location typically employs 40 workers who earn a minimum starting wage of $10 an hour.
Wawa has either broken ground or plans to break ground soon at eight other Broward County and Palm Beach County locations. These spots include Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, Sunrise, Greenacres, Palm Springs and Riviera Beach, the news report noted.
Wawa currently operates more than 720 stores in six states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.