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PHILADELPHIA — Wawa Inc.'s new flagship store will be serving customers by the time Pope Francis comes to town.
The new Wawa convenience store at the corner of Broad and Walnuts streets is tentatively slated to open Sept. 18, Wawa officials told the Philadelphia Business Journal. This date is just a few days before the World Meeting of Families event starts Sept. 22.
Original plans called for the Center City flagship store — the first Wawa to feature indoor seating — to open in November. However, the retailer pushed up the timeline to coincide with the Pope's visit, as CSNews Online previously reported.
The store will boast additional new design concepts, such as make-your-own salads and make-your-own smoothies. A made-to-order coffee station will also be a key component of the new store.
The World Meeting of Families, the world's largest Catholic gathering of families, will be held during the week of Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is attending this year's event — his first visit to the United States.
About 2 million people are expected to come to Philadelphia during the event, which is estimated to have an economic impact of $417.8 million. About $390 million of that will come from Pope Francis’ visit alone, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens was one of 35 delegates who traveled to Rome in June to help plan the logistics of Pope Francis' visit. Wawa is a corporate sponsor of the event and will be donating food to volunteers, as well as 1 million bottles of water to attendees, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Wawa operates 700 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.