Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens Helping Plan Pope’s Visit

PHILADELPHIA — Wawa Inc. CEO Chris Gheysens is one of 35 delegates in Rome, Italy, to hammer out logistics in advance of Pope Francis’ visit during the World Meeting of Families, taking place Sept. 22-27 here.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wawa will be a corporate sponsor of the event, and will be donating all food to volunteers, as well as 1 million bottles of water to attendees.

Gheysens confirmed to the news outlet that a new Wawa store at the corner of Broad Street and Walnut Street in the Center City section of the City of Brotherly Love should open just in time for the event. The store will feature such in-store items as make-your-own salads and make-your-own smoothies. A made-to-order coffee station will also be a key component of the new store.

Gheysens is joined in Italy by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, among others. The Philadelphia contingent is not expected to directly meet Pope Francis.

“We’ll be talking to the pontifical council on the family, we’ll be talking with other Vatican officials about this event,” Nutter told CBS Philadelphia.

The new Wawa store was originally expected to open by Thanksgiving, but the opening date was moved up to September in honor of the pope’s visit.

The papal visit will be Pope Francis’ first to the United States as pope.

Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa Inc. operates more than 690 convenience stores, including 420 offering gasoline, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

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