ORLANDO, Fla. -- Wawa Inc. has opened its sixth convenience store in the state of Florida, in Orlando. The Pennsylvania-based chain began opening stores in the Sunshine State in July, rolling out five stores in five weeks time in the greater Orlando market.
This opening will complete Wawa's planned expansion into the Orlando market for 2012. It will begin again in 2013.
The Wawa, Pa.-based retailer's six Florida locations are in Orlando (4) and Kissimmee (2).
Additional stores under construction in the Orange County and Orlando area set to open in 2013 include those in Apopka, Orlando, Winter Park, Kissimmee, Oviedo, Lake Mary and St. Cloud.
Wawa will begin to open its first stores in Tampa in 2013. Throughout the Orlando andTampa markets, Wawa plans to open 25 stores in 2013, 24 stores in 2014 and 24 stores in 2015 and projects that it will open 100 stores in the markets within the next five years.
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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, but will have the opportunity to be enrolled in Wawa's employee stock ownership plan.
Wawa will hold a grand opening celebration for the sixth store on Oct. 30. Local officials, company associates, members of the Central Florida Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), local heroes, community members and Wally Goose will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Customers will sample Wawa products and witness a charitable hoagie building competition featuring the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Orange County Fire & Rescue.
"2012 has been an extremely exciting year for all of us at Wawa and we couldn't be happier about the success of our entrance into the Sunshine State," said Wawa President Chris Gheysens. We are so glad to be a part of the Orlando community and couldn't be prouder to officially call the sunshine state our new home and the customers our new family."
During the event, Wawa officials will discuss Wawa's commitment to the community and expected local economic impact for the Central Florida Region. Wawa will present a check to representatives from the JDRF's Central Florida Chapter for $5,000 raised through in-store customer donations during the third quarter of 2012. Wawa will conclude the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks to the charities of each of the heroes' choices.
The company also recently announced that it will continue its commitment to championing children's health causes in the Florida community through its sponsorship of the Miracle Miles event for the second year in a row. The September 22 race event in Orlando supported the Alexander Center for Neonatology at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Wawa's $15,000 contribution will be used for capital campaign and medical equipment needs. This year, Wawa expanded its presence at the event, hosting a Wawa Smoothie Shack featuring strawberry and frozen lemonade. During the event, 25 Wawa associates handed out more than 3,000 "Smoothie Shack" samples to race participants.
Wawa is a chain of more than 595 convenience retail stores (300 offering gasoline), located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Florida.