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ORLANDO, Fla. -- This store makes eight. Wawa Inc. is throwing open the doors on its latest Florida location at 8048 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando Wednesday, marking the latest opening in the retailer's expansion into the Sunshine State.
Orlando is the site of the convenience store chain's first Florida c-store. That store, across from Sea World, welcomed its first customers in mid-July. To date, the company's eight Florida convenience stores are in the greater Orlando market -- the last opening in Apopka on Jan. 9. Tampa Bay-area residents will see their first Wawa open in February.
Wawa plans an estimated 25 grand openings occurring between the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets throughout the year.
"We are thrilled to mark each new grand opening with a celebration that shows our commitment to our communities, associates and customers," said Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. "We are so glad to be a part of the Orlando community, adding hundreds of new associates to the Wawa family and serving our new Florida friends and neighbors with our fresh and inviting food service offer."
The Jan. 23 grand opening of the 8048 E. Colonial Drive store will feature Wawa associates, Wawa's mascot Wally Moose, and local officials. Wawa will also announce plans to sponsor the March 9 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes taking place on the grounds of the University of Central Florida. As community partner, Wawa associates will be on hand during the walk to serve the walkers and participants with delicious Wawa hoagies and snacks.
"We are proud to expand our long-standing partnership with JDRF to our Florida home," said Todd Souders, director of store operations. "Our associates and customers have always been committed to supporting the important research JDRF funds in the hope of finding a cure."
The grand opening event will conclude with a Hoagies for Heroes building competition featuring the Orlando Sheriff's Department and the Orlando Fire and Rescue. Each team will be challenged to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way.