APOPKA, Fla. -- Wawa Inc. on Jan. 9 announced the first of several grand openings to come in the new year with its seventh store in the state of Florida, located in Apopka.
Last year, Wawa officially entered the Florida market with the opening of six stores in the greater Orlando area. The grand opening of its 7th store will launch a year of continued expansion into the State of Florida--which includes the February entry into the Tampa Bay area; and an estimated 25 grand openings between the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets.
"2013 will be an extremely exciting year for all of us at Wawa as we continue to grow and expand aggressively into the Sunshine State," said Wawa president and CEO Chris Gheysens. "We are so glad to be a part of the Orlando community, adding hundreds of new associates to the Wawa family and serving our new Florida friends and neighbors with our fresh and inviting food service offer."
Between the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets, Wawa said that it plans to open 25 stores in 2013, 25 stores in 2014 and 25 stores in 2015 and projects it will open 100 stores in the state of Florida within the next five years.
Additional stores under construction in the Greater Orlando area set to open in 2013 include:
Orlando (slated for Jan. 23 grand opening), Winter Park (first quarter), Kissimmee (second quarter), Oviedo (second quarter), Lake Mary (second quarter), St. Cloud (two stores; second quarter) and Kissimmee (second quarter).
Wawa will begin to open its first stores in the Tampa Bay Area in 2013, opening five stores in five weeks. The Tampa Bay launch schedule is as follows: Pinellas Park (Feb. 28), Tampa (Feb. 13) Port Richey (three stores; Feb. 20, 27 and March 6).
The new stores will each employ more than 50 associates, all of which are new positions brought to the area through the development of the stores. Associates in these full and part-time positions will not only receive competitive salaries and health benefits, the company said, but will have the opportunity to be enrolled in Wawa's employee stock ownership (ESOP) plan.
During the grand opening event, local officials including Apopka City Commissioner Joe Kilsheimer and State Representative Bryan Nelson, members of the Second Harvest Food Bank, local heroes and community members joined Wawa executives, associates and mascots in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and sampled Wawa products and witnessed a charitable hoagie building competition featuring the Apopka Police Department and the Apopka Fire & Rescue.
Wawa officials discussed the chain's commitment to the community and expected local economic impact for the Central Florida Region. They presented a check to representatives from the Second Harvest Food bank local Chapter for $3,000 raised through in-store customer donations during third-quarter 2012.
Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., is a chain of more than 600 convenience retail stores (300 offering gasoline) located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Florida. The stores offer a large fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa brands such as built-to-order hoagies, coffee, hot breakfast sandwiches, built-to-order specialty beverages and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks.