ORLANDO, Fla. & CADIZ, Ky. -- Two major convenience chains have celebrated expansion into new states. Wawa Inc. has opened the second and third of its first five stores in five weeks slated for the Greater Orlando area in central Florida. And Casey's General Stores Inc. has opened its first store in Kentucky.
During this grand opening events, local officials, heroes and community members joined Wawa for ribbon-cutting ceremonies, sampling of Wawa products and a charitable hoagie building competitions featuring the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Orange County Fire & Rescue and the Osceola County Sheriff's Department and the Osceola County Fire EMS, respectively, where the stores are located.
The grand opening events also continue to fuel Wawa's partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. It has committed to donating a portion of hoagie sales for the stores (up to $5,000 per store) to the organization, with a goal to raise and donate $25,000 in five weeks time, and help fight hunger in the Orlando community.
The fourth store is scheduled to open on August 8 and the fifth store on August 15.
"We are thrilled to continue to open our doors in the Greater Orlando area and share this momentous occasion with our Orange County friends and neighbors, welcoming them to enjoy our unique brand of appetizing convenience. With each of our five grand openings we look forward to helping make our goal of supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank in a meaningful way a reality, and perpetuating our commitment to support local causes and people in the communities we serve," said Howard Stoeckel, Wawa's CEO, at the opening of the second store on July 25.
"It's been a thrilling three weeks, and we couldn't be happier that our unique brand of appetizing convenience has caught on so quickly with our new Central Florida friends and neighbors," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa's president, at the opening of the third store on August 1.
The new Florida stores will feature Wawa's newest design prototype, developed by CBX, including 4,600 square feet of retail space and additional gasoline facility, as well as new in-store graphics, colors, restroom design and merchandising features.
The store features Wawa's new bakeoff kitchen area where fresh hoagie rolls will be baked daily; a full-service specialty beverage area where, via touchscreens, customers can order 20 handmade varieties of hot beverages, espressos, Chai teas and lattes and more than 20 varieties of smoothies and frozen beverages; dedicated chec-out lanes; and large expanded windows providing a clear view inside of the new design.
Each store will offer Floridians numerous Wawa fan-favorites, including award-winning Wawa coffee (195 million cups sold annually); the Sizzli?, Wawa's hot breakfast sandwiches; Wawa's bakery items; and Wawa's built-to-order hoagies (70 million sold annually) and Wawa brand teas and juices.
Wawa will open six stores in Orlando in 2012 and begin to open its first stores in Tampa in 2013. Throughout the Orlando / Tampa markets, Wawa plans to open 20 stores in 2013, 25 stores in 2014 and 25 stores in 2015 and projects they will open 100 stores in the Orlando and Tampa markets within the next five years.
The new stores will each employ nearly 35 associates, all of which are new positions brought to the area through the development of the stores.
Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., has more than 595 convenience retail stores, 300 offering gasoline, located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Florida.
Meanwhile, Casey's Cadiz, Ky., store represents the entry into the 12th state in which the Ankeny, Iowa-based company operates.
The company posted on Facebook and tweeted the grand opening Thursday morning.
"We are excited about continuing the development of our store expansion into other states," Robert Myers, president and CEO said in March when the expansion was announced. "We plan to open our store in Cadiz later this summer, with additional sites in Paducah and Henderson to be built later in the year. We believe there are many communities in this state that fit perfectly with our business model."
In April, Casey's also announced that it would be entering its 13th state with the opening of a store in Dyersburg, Tenn.
"We believe the state of Tennessee provides an excellent opportunity for Casey's," said Myers at that time. "We plan to open our store in Dyersburg in October. The community is a perfect fit for our business model, particularly our foodservice program that offers made-from-scratch pizza, homemade donuts and our new made-to-order sub sandwiches."
Casey's entered Arkansas, its 11th state, in April 2011, with the opening of a store in Belle Vista. It is also eyeing the state of Michigan.
The chain operates a total of approximately 1,700 locations.
(See Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage of Casey's expansion.)