Five Wawa stores are scheduled to open in five weeks in the Orlando area, with the chain forecasting 100 stores for the Orlando/Tampa markets in the next five years.
Wawa Inc. today announced a milestone in its company’s history—the grand opening of its first store in the state of Florida.
Located directly across from SeaWorld at the intersection of central Florida Parkway & International Drive in Orange County, this location is the first of five Wawa stores to open in five weeks in the greater Orlando area.
During this landmark grand opening event, Wawa will be joined by local officials, heroes and community members for a ribbon cutting ceremony, parade of Wawa’s history and values, sampling of Wawa products, and “Hoagies for Heroes” charitable hoagie building competition between Orange County Fire and Rescue vs. the Orange County Sheriff Department.
The grand opening event will also kick off Wawa’s partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. As Wawa opens five stores in Orlando in five weeks time, it has committed to donating a portion of hoagie sales for these first five stores (up to $5,000 per store) to Second Harvest Food Bank, with a goal to raise and donate $25,000 in five weeks time, and help fight hunger in the Orlando community.
“We are thrilled to finally open our doors and share this momentous occasion with honored friends and guests, and are ecstatic to welcome our new Orlando customers to enjoy our unique brand of appetizing convenience,” said Howard Stoeckel, Wawa’s CEO. “We are passionate about extending our commitment to being a good neighbor and corporate citizen to the Sunshine State, and our Partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank is just one example of how we will support local causes and people in the community.”
Grand Opening Event Details
On Wednesday, July 18, at 10 a.m., the ground breaking celebration will begin. Florida Governor Rick Scott and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will join Wawa and local officials, Wawa’s Mascots Wally Goose & Shorti, SeaWorld representatives, Wawa associates and local community officials for the milestone occasion.
The entire event will be streamed live, through www.wawa.com. The event will proceed as follows: The grand opening will kick off with Wawa associate Tamika Miller, a previous winner of a company-wide all-associate singing contest, performing the national anthem.
Wawa’s CEO, Howard Stoeckel, will then take center stage, discussing Wawa’s culture and values. Stoeckel will introduce the Wawa Through the Ages parade, which visually highlights Wawa’s key milestones. The parade features associates wearing oversized foam-board photos of everything from Wawa’s famous milk man, to everyone’s favorite hoagies, to the evolution of coffee cups through the years. Immediately following the Wawa Through the Ages parade, the Wawa Values Parade will begin. Wawa has identified associates who have been nominated by their peers for exemplifying one of each of the six core values to be a part of the festivities. Together these six associates will march proudly holding up a sign of the Value they are there to represent. Wawa’s President, Chris Gheysens, will then speak about this milestone occasion, and expected local and community impact Wawa hopes to have throughout Central Florida.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will speak about the significance of Wawa to the local region and its commitment to community initiatives, including Second Harvest and how Wawa is donating a portion of hoagie sales from the first five stores that open in Orlando to the Food Bank with the goal to donate $25,000 in five weeks. Florida Governor Scott will speak about the significance of Wawa’s expansion to the state in terms of economic development and job growth. A ribbon will be cut commemorating the store’s official opening and the company’s official launch into the Sunshine State.
“We can’t wait to meet our new Florida family and are excitedly to quickly penetrate the Greater Orlando area and simplify our customers’ loves,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s President. “As each location opens, we will further solidify our commitment to filling a void in our new Florida customers’ lives, providing them with a level of convenience and appetite appeal our customers have come to rely on us for.”
Hoagies for Heroes Competition
The event will conclude with a Hoagies for Heroes—hoagie building competition between the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire and Rescue. The teams will be challenged to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way. While the winners will receive bragging rights, The Sheriff’s Department will be building on behalf of the Orange County Police Athletic League and Firefighters will be building on behalf of the Orange County Benevolent Association. Wawa will conclude the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks to the charities of each of the heroes’ choices.
Central Florida Expansion Plans
After Wawa’s first grand opening on in the state of Florida on July 18, 2012, Wawa will continue to penetrate the Central Florida market over the next five weeks with the following grand opening schedule:
• Store number 5101 at 5910 Central Florida Parkway Orlando, FL 32821, Orange County, on July 18, 2012
• Store number 5103 at 4700 S. Goldenrod Road Orlando, FL 32822, Orange County on July 25, 2012
• Store number 5102 at 2184 E Irlo Bronson Kissimmee, FL 34744, in Osceola County on July 1, 2012.
• Store number 5104 at 2499 N. Orange Blossom Trail Kissimmee, FL 34744, Osceola County on July 8, 2012
• Store number 5100 at 2500 Silver Star Road Orlando, FL 32804, Orange County on July 15, 2012
During each grand opening event, Wawa will invite local officials, heroes and community members to celebrate in the festivities, sample Wawa products and learn about Wawa’s expected economic and community impact.
Wawa plans to 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 it will open 100 stores in the Orlando/Tampa markets in 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. Associates in these full and part-time positions will receive competitive salaries and are eligible for health benefits and Wawa’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
Wawa has more than 595 convenience retail stores (300 offering gasoline), in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and by summer of 2012, central Florida.