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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Wawa Inc. plans to move further into the Sunshine State with a 120-store expansion in South Florida between 2017 and 2022, according to a Sun Sentinel report. The first new locations will open in Palm Beach and Broward counties, followed by stores in Miami-Dade County in 2018.
"Our plan was always to have a presence across most of the state," Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said during an announcement at the Perez Art Museum Miami on Nov. 9. Approximately 100 civic leaders attended.
The South Florida region is appealing to the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain due to its dense population and transplants from Wawa's northern footprint who are familiar with the brand, Gheysens said.
Wawa opened its first Florida store in 2012 in Orlando and has opened 79 in the state since then. However, its current southernmost store is located in Fort Myers.
Each new store is expected to hire approximately 40 part- and full-time employees, who will be offered health benefits and the opportunity to participate in Wawa's stock ownership plan.
The company's focus on fresh food and technology has prompted customer devotion expressed through tattoos and even marriage ceremonies inside stores.
"Yes, we have wedding receptions," Gheysens said, presenting a slideshow of happy couples at Wawa during Monday's announcement.
In total, Wawa operates more than 700 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.