Across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, the name Wawa represents more than the Lenni Lanape Indian word for Canadian goose. For more than 200 years, the name has also stood for convenience. But judging from its history, perhaps it should also stand for evolution.
- Headquarters: Wawa, Pa.
- Founding year: 1803
- Number of locations as of January 2011: more than 570
The company was founded in 1803 and was incorporated in 1865 as the Millville Manufacturing Company, a textile company with mills in several states. In 1902, Millville’s owner, George Wood, opened a small milk plant in Wawa, and the company specialized in processing and home delivery of milk. But by the 1960s, George’s grandson, Grahame, realized the market was changing and home delivery was no longer a necessary service as supermarkets popped into the picture.
In April 1964, the first Wawa Food Market was opened in Folsom, Pa., forever changing the company’s standing in its communities. But the core values of the company have remained the same, and the Wawa dairy has continued to grow, producing more than 92 million quarts of milk annually.
In addition, Wawa brews its own coffee, of which it sells more than 195 million cups a year; a full line of private label smoothies and frozen cappuccinos; and private label teas and punches, sodas, juices, water, and chilled cappuccinos. Beyond its food offering, Wawa Gasoline is offered at 200 of its locations and is guaranteed to be the best quality fuel available.
Wawa’s dedication to providing the highest quality goods and services to its customers is just one more reason they keep coming back. “I’ve spoken many times about the unique bond we have with our customers, a bond that feels more like family than the typical customer-associate relationship,” wrote CEO Howard Stoeckel. “I can’t tell you how proud and humbled I feel by the connection between Wawa associates and customers that is so strong; it spans all generations and is timeless in our company’s history.”