Everyone knows the 400 million customers who shop at Wawa every year hold the door longer for other Wawa customers than they do for shoppers at any other retail store, but here are 9 things about the Delaware County-based convenience store you might not know:
- Wawa is the word for goose in a Native American language. Though the Lenape tribe originally settled in the Delaware River watershed, it appears the name comes from the Ojibwe, who are in the Great Lakes region.
2. The first printed mention of the convenience store’s name was by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who mentions “Wawa” in The Song of Hiawatha: “the wild-goose, Wawa.”
3. Although the company’s history dates back to the early 1800’s, the first Wawa Food Market on MacDade Boulevard in Folsom, Delaware County opened in April 1964.
4. Wawa stores, which are all company-owned, were successful in part because convenience stores were exempt from Pennsylvania’s Blue Laws that kept larger grocery stores closed on Sundays. The number of Wawa stores grew to 100 by 1972 and 500 by 1992. The chain boast over 730 stores today, 500 of which offer gasoline.
5. Wawa stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, employ 22,000 and serve 400 million customers every year.
6. Wawa’s stores—located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida—sell more than 60 million made-to-order hoagies and the 195 million cups of their signature coffee they sell every year places the Delaware County-based company in the top ten (#8) coffee sellers in the United States.
7. Wawa is the number one convenience-store seller of Herr’s chips, Amoroso’s hoagie rolls (200,000 rolls per day by one estimate), Tastykake and the Sunday Inquirer.
8. Since opening their first Florida store in 2012, Wawa’s 100 Sunshine State 4,000 employees have served 63 million customers, poured 15 million cups of coffee, pumped nearly 900 million gallons of gas and donated more than $3 million to local Florida charities.