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    Wawa CEO Discusses Florida Expansion

    TAMPA, Fla. – Wawa Inc.'s expansion in Florida has progressed "more quickly than we thought," said CEO Chris Gheysens in an interview with the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

    The Wawa, Pa.-based convenience store chain’s goal was to open 50 stores this year, said Gheysens. A "critical and important part" of Wawa’s growth, Florida has seen 33 stores open this year with more than half located in the Orlando area. Wawa opened 10 stores in the Tampa area, and 12 of 25 stores planned for 2014 will be in the greater Tampa area, which the retailer entered in 2013.

    "One of the things we loved about Florida was the process was quicker," Gheysens told the news source. "It’s easier than in the Northeast. It takes at best three years from when we buy a piece of land to when we can start construction [in the Northeast]. "That’s measured in months in Florida."

    Beyond the availability of land and consumer demand for the retailer, Florida is also home to Richard D. Woods Jr., the retailer’s chairman of the board and member of Wawa’s founding Woods family.

    Wawa Inc. operates more than 635 convenience retail stores (more than 365 offering gasoline), in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Central Florida.

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