BALTIMORE — Wawa Inc. is gearing up to celebrate 50 years in Maryland with expansion across the state.
The convenience store retailer kicked off its Maryland growth plan with a groundbreaking ceremony on its newest store in Baltimore. In all, Wawa plans to open five new stores across the state in 2020. Over the next five years, it will also open 10 to 15 convenience stores in Maryland.
Wawa first set up shop in the state in 1970.
"We're thrilled to be gearing up for our 50th anniversary in the State of Maryland, and our Baltimore groundbreaking ceremony and Maryland Special Olympics partnership announcement showcases how much we value our half-century spent serving customers across Maryland," said Adam Schall, senior director of store operations for Wawa.
"We look forward to opening a new store in Baltimore soon and can't wait to keep connecting with new and old friends who will soon become the foundations of our stores. And, we can't wait to open even more doors across the State of Maryland very soon," he added.
To mark its anniversary in Maryland, Wawa is rolling out in-store and community elements to celebrate the milestone. Those elements include special displays in its c-stores.
As part of its commitment to the Maryland community, the retailer will be a presenting sponsor for the Maryland Special Olympics 2020 Summer Games. The Wawa Foundation will provide a grant to cover the registration fees of athletes from throughout the state to take part in the games.
"For many years, Wawa has partnered with the Maryland Special Olympics to highlight the wonderful athletes and honor the heroes who have and continue to change the game," Schall said. "We are excited to continue providing support for this important organization and the role it plays in inspiring athletes and providing life-changing opportunities."
In the nearly 50 years, Wawa has developed deep ties with Maryland. On March 25, the retailer recognized Maryland Day with in-store celebrations and fanfare. The commemoration included special Maryland-themed foods and products; limited-edition Wawa Maryland Day merchandise for sale; and a community partnership with Maryland Special Olympics to support the Unified Sports programs in their champion schools.
In addition, this summer the retailer became the official hoagie of the Baltimore Ravens NFL team through a multi-year partnership. As a corporate partner to the Ravens, Wawa offered in-store and stadium promotions, including opportunities to win team merchandise and game tickets.
Wawa has turned its attention to expanding in the Mid-Atlantic region over the past two years. In December 2017, the retailer entered Washington, D.C., with a 9,200-square-foot c-store, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
In addition, in September the retailer announced a $240-million investment to open 40 stores in Northern Virginia over the next 15 years. The plans call for two to three new stores a year.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates more than more than 870 c-stores, with 600-plus offering fuel, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.