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06/24/2022

Wawa Adds Central Pennsylvania to Its Growth Plans

The retailer is taking suggestions for possible sites along the Susquehanna River.
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A Wawa convenience store

WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc. is continuing to grow its footprint — this time closer to home.

The convenience store retailer plans to expand the number of locations it operates in central Pennsylvania by adding more locations along the Susquehanna River.

Its plans call for Wawa to double its store count over the next three to five years, with the first new central Pennsylvania store likely to open as early as 2024. There is the potential to add up to 40 additional stores in the area, Wawa said.

"With a commitment to fulfilling lives, we're thrilled to continue our growth and expansion in our existing markets to provide quality fresh food, beverages and support to the community," said John Poplawski, vice president of real estate for Wawa. "In addition, Wawa's continued expansion will mean even more convenience and new jobs in the central Pennsylvania community."

The retailer invites consumers to submit central Pennsylvania site suggestions via website form at www.wawa.com/about/real-estate/site-submission.

NON-STOP GROWTH

This marks the latest in a string of expansion announcements from Wawa.Earlier this month, the retailer revealed it will move into the Nashville, Tenn., market with its first location slated to open in 2025.

Wawa's plans call for the opening of up to 40 convenience stores in that area over the next few years.

"We are excited to expand beyond our current operating area and look forward to serving the community come 2025 and beyond," Poplawski said of Wawa's expansion into Nashville.

Wawa seeks to expand in the Southeast as well and is "actively looking" into sites where it can open new convenience stores in the Florida Panhandle markets of Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee, as well as Mobile, Ala.

The convenience store operator also noted in March that it was scouting locations for its first c-stores in North Carolina.

These market expansions combine to form what Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens called plans for the "most aggressive growth" in Wawa's history. In addition to entering new markets such as Nashville, the retailer is specifically looking to grow its presence in markets adjacent to its existing footprint.

New Wawa locations will be a mix of "traditional" and "non-traditional" stores. Traditional refers to locations that are typical neighborhood stores with great accessibility off main roads, according to Gheysens, while non-traditional refers to potential "travel center" stores.

The non-traditional stores could be used to expand Wawa's electric vehicle (EV) charging network, which includes more than 670 Tesla Superchargers distributed across 80-plus convenience stores.

The convenience retailer will also continue to build new standalone drive-thru stores and plans to open two in Pennsylvania this year, with additional standalone drive-thru stores slated to open in Florida next year.

The upcoming standalone drive-thru stores will serve as a test to gauge customer demand for the format, according to Gheysens.

Wawa expects to open 54 new convenience stores in 2022. Each new Wawa store adds an average of 40 new jobs to the local community.

Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates nearly 1,000 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C.