If you’re from Pennsylvania, you know that we take our convenience stores very seriously and that between Sheetz and Wawa, Wawa is by far the superior option.
What started out as a dairy farm, founded in 1902 by George Wood, soon became a staple in the average Philadelphian’s life. Wood set out to bottle fresh milk products from his Guernsey cows and delivered milk from door to door. Wawa’s Dairy aimed to be of the highest quality and earned their reputation of the premier dairy farm and distributor across Delaware County.
More than 50 years later, this household name opened their first store in Folsom, PA, and history was made. Home milk delivery services were declining, so Grahame Wood, George Wood’s grandson, opened the first market for dairy products and other foods. By 1970, the growing brand had locations across three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, and their kitchens offered foods such as hamburger and fried chicken.
Before long, Wawa was offering pre-made hoagies and sandwiches. By 1972, the Wood family opened their 100th store, and in that same year, went 24-hours. And, before the decade closes, Wawa opened its 200th store.
In 1980, Wawa won the “Best of Philly” award for coffee, which it started brewing and selling only five years prior. This decade marks the move of separating the deli from the checkout counter and brings us to another very important mile marker: made-to-order hoagies. Hot foods, such as meatballs, also become a reality in this decade, as does the opening of Wawa’s 300th store.
To provide state-of-the-art training and further promotional opportunities, Wawa, Inc. begins Camp Wawa and Wawa University, as well as its President’s Club to recognize Wawa store managers everywhere.
The 1990s brought about the first Hoagie Day on May 7, 1992, beginning a beloved tradition by many. That same year, Wawa opens its 500th store. ATMs are installed in 1995 (no surcharge, even today!), the Sizzli is introduced, and the kitchen continues to expand, this time with a bakery section!
The famous Touch Screen ordering system comes to fruition in 2002, and also marks the 100th anniversary of Wawa Dairy. Pretzels, 24 oz. coffee, and the ability to fill up your gas tank are all now considered the norm.
More recently, Wawa expanded down to Florida and continued to grow their offerings with smoothies and other specialty beverages. 2014 saw the 50th anniversary of the first Wawa Market, and to this day, is always rolling out new changes to keep customers happy.