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ORLANDO, Fla. — Fifty down, 50 to go, at least for now. Wawa Inc. on Thursday revealed plans to grow its Florida footprint by 50 new convenience stores over the next two years, just as it celebrated the grand opening of store No. 50 in the Sunshine State.
Company officials confirmed at the Thursday grand opening that it will open 25 stores per year over the next two years in Florida, with locations spread throughout the Orlando, Tampa, Daytona and Southwest Coast markets.
Wawa debuted on the Florida scene in July 2012 with the opening of its first Orlando store on Central Florida Parkway, across from SeaWorld Orlando. Within a little more than two years, the retailer has opened 30 Orlando-area and 19 Tampa-area stores, with plans to open locations in Fort Myers in 2015.
Appropriately enough, its 50-store milestone is also in Orlando, at 4100 E. Colonial Drive.
"Expanding to Florida was a huge milestone for the Wawa family," President and CEO Chris Gheysens said at Thursday's event. "The wonderful customers, associates and communities in the Sunshine State are the reason this milestone is possible. We cannot thank you enough, so on this occasion, we'll raise a cup of freshly brewed Wawa coffee to toast each and every one of you. We look forward to not only supporting and ingraining ourselves in your communities, but to fulfilling the lives of our customers each and every day."
Gheysens added that Wawa sees a "big future here in Florida."
Pennsylvania-based Wawa owns and operates more than 657 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida.