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CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Wawa Inc. is expanding its reach across the Sunshine State with three convenience stores in the southwest corner of Florida slated to open in the first half of next year.
The Pennsylvania-based retailer will open three locations in Lee County by the spring, with another six stores planned for southwest Florida by 2017, according to the News-Press.
"We looked across the entire country and we landed here," said Chris Gheysens, CEO and president of Wawa. "It's the right time to invest in Florida."
Wawa will open one store in Cape Coral and two in Fort Myers. The Cape Coral store will serve as a training site.
According to the news outlet, more than 170 community leaders came out Oct. 30 to hear Gheysens speak about the Wawa Way and what makes it more than your average c-store at a lecture hosted at Grandezza Country Club in Estero by Florida Gulf Coast University's Lutgert College of Business and its W. Thomas Howard Lecture series.
"We think of ourselves as the town hall, that place where you meet," Gheysens said. "We're a pretty authentic company. What you see is what you get; what we say is what we mean."
More so than quick convenience items, hoagies and coffee, Wawa offers value to customers in its product, pricing and devotion to the community, the chief executive said.
Wawa opened its first store in Florida just outside of SeaWorld Orlando in July 2012. The chain now has a total of 52 stores in the central part of the state.
In all, Wawa owns and operates more than 657 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida.