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WILMINGTON, Del. -- A willingness to heed market demands is what has kept Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain Wawa Inc. on the right track, CEO Howard Stoeckel told attendees of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce's 13th annual Superstars in Business Luncheon yesterday, according to a News Journal report.
Wawa came into being as an iron manufacturing firm and morphed into a cloth diaper manufacturer and dairy before becoming a convenience store chain with locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and, starting next year, Florida.
"Times have changed, and we changed with them," said Stoeckel. "Embracing change constantly is part of our DNA."
However, certain tenets of the company will not change: Wawa will always be privately owned with employees who share in the ownership; and the company's philosophy and structure will remain intact, Stoeckel said. Other aspects of Wawa will continue to change with the times, as it attempts to live up to the title of the "world's most appetizing convenience retailer," according to the report. Wawa will refine and improve its line of fresh-made meals and offer espresso starting next year.
"Quality food, quality beverages, will become more of a driver in our business," Stoeckel noted.
Regarding the company's move into Florida, it's all about growth, Stoeckel said. "You need to have a platform for growth, a platform for innovation, a way to get to the next level," he said. "If you don't grow, you don't survive."