BRANDON, Fla. — Wawa Inc. will mark a major milestone in the company's Florida development with the grand opening of its 100th store in the Sunshine State on Nov. 4.
In July 2012, Wawa launched its first Florida location in Orlando, with a goal to provide a whole new world of convenience to Floridians, the company stated.
"We are thrilled to be able to celebrate this incredible milestone in Brandon as we continue to grow our brand across the Sunshine State," said Chris Gheysens, president and CEO, Wawa. "We are honored to have become a part of so many wonderful communities, serve so many tremendous customers and work with so many dedicated associates. We can't wait to see what the next few hundred stores bring as we to continue to fulfill customers' lives every day across the state of Florida."
The new Brandon Wawa will offer customers a number of Wawa brands, including the company's coffee, hoagies, specialty beverages, and dairy products, juices and teas. It will also serve the Sizzli, Wawa's hot breakfast sandwich, and Wawa's Bakery.
Jeffrey Burnett will serve as general manager of the Brandon store, leading a team of nearly 40 associates, all of which are new positions brought to the area through the development of the store. Associates in these full- and part-time positions will receive competitive salaries and health benefits, in addition to eligibility to participate in Wawa's employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Wawa Associates own more than 41 percent of Wawa through the ESOP.
As part of the store's opening celebration — located at 1728 W. Brandon Blvd. — Wawa will be giving away any-size free coffee all day at all Florida Wawa locations. Wawa said it plans to give away more than 70,000 cups of coffee across Florida during the daylong promotion.
"We truly owe our Sunshine State expansion from a single store in 2012 to our milestone 100th location to our incredible customers, associates and the support of our communities," Gheysens continued. "So as a special thanks, we'd like to offer up a toast and free coffee to any customer who visits a Wawa Florida store on Nov. 4. We look forward to not only continuing to ingrain ourselves in Florida communities, but to fulfilling the lives of our Florida customers each and every day."
Other highlights of the store opening celebration include:
- Hoagie Huddle to Fight Hunger, in which Wawa associates from the Tampa region will build 1,000 hoagies for local community school feeding programs managed by Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation;
- Wawa Director of Store Operations Dave Prevost will kick off a Wawa Florida "Smilestone" Parade, including visual images of Wawa Florida milestones and recognition of special Wawa customers; and
- Representatives from the Central Florida USO will perform the National Anthem and Honor Guard from Brandon High School ROTC.
Gheysens and Chairman of the Board Dick Wood will also share Wawa's future Florida expansion, including stores, jobs and total investment. They will also provide an update on The Wawa Foundation's Florida giving, including a new statewide commitment to fighting hunger across Florida and a $100,000 donation designated to support hunger-fighting initiatives throughout Wawa's markets in Florida.
The celebration will conclude with a charitable Hoagies for Heroes hoagie-building competition, during which representatives from the Hillsborough County Fire and Police departments will face off. Each team will be challenged to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way.
Wawa will conclude the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks on behalf of the winning and runner up teams, for $1,000 to the charities of their choice.
"We look forward to the next phase in our Florida growth and to fulfill the lives of more customers and more communities each and every day," commented Gheysens. "Thank you for supporting us over the past four years. We can't wait to see what the future of Wawa in Florida holds."
Based in Wawa, Pa., Wawa operates more than 700 c-stores.