Fifty years ago, Wawa Inc. opened its very first store at 1212 MacDade Boulevard in Folsom, Pa. In honor of this tremendous milestone, Wawa is kicking-off its 50th anniversary in retail with two in-store celebrations.
The first takes place at Wawa’s very first store in Folsom, Pa. The second will take place at the 17th and Arch Street Wawa store in Philadelphia, where Mayor Nutter will officially proclaim April 16 as Wawa Day in the City of Philadelphia.
Both events will honor this milestone, recognizing the customers, associates and stories of the past five decades that make Wawa a living, breathing brand. As a highlight of each event, Wawa’s former President and CEO and Current Vice Chairman, Howard Stoeckel, will officially launch the sale of his book, “The Wawa Way, How a funny name and six core values revolutionized convenience,” which will go on sale to the public that day, and become available in all Wawa stores.
The celebrations will be led by Wawa Chairman Richard Wood, Jr., Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens, and former Wawa President and CEO and current Vice Chairman, Howard Stoeckel.
Wawa Day will conclude with a special evening ceremony for Wawa Associates, business partners and invited community members at the National Constitution Center. During the event, in honor of both Governor Rendell and Mayor Nutter, Wawa will present a check for $50,000 to the Philadelphia Summer Youth Job Program, made possible through The Wawa Foundation. The event will conclude with the announcement of The Wawa Foundation, a new entity founded by Wawa to support Wawa’s charitable giving and philanthropic activities. The Wawa Foundation’s purpose is to fulfill lives every day, by building stronger communities.
Over the next five years, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation, together, have committed $50 million to support causes related to the Foundation’s three key areas of focus- health, hunger, and every day heroes. The Wawa Foundation will be a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation (The Wawa Foundation Inc.’s non-profit status is pending approval by the Internal Revenue Service) and give Wawa an even greater opportunity to positively enrich and impact the communities it serves. Earlier in the day, The Wawa Foundation will have presented each of Wawa’s top five major charity partners with a $50,000 grant in honor of the 50th anniversary.
“I offer my sincere congratulations to Richard Wood, Chris Gheysens, Howard Stoeckel, and everyone at Wawa Inc. on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary and the launch of The Wawa Foundation,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “Wawa is a fixture in the Philadelphia region and an extraordinary corporate citizen —most notably lending its name and support to the City of Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America Festival during the 4th of July celebrations. I’m honored to celebrate Wawa’s 50th anniversary in business, and I look forward to the continued success of our partnership and enjoying many more Wawa hoagies for years to come.”
Both store ceremonies will be filled with the sights and sounds of Wawa from 1964 through to present day. At both in-store events, a photo exhibit of hoagie history, chronicling the development of Wawa’s signature sandwich from inception until now, will be on display. The events will also include: original ads and signage from 1964; an antique Wawa truck from 1918 (at Folsom only); and of course, Wawa’s mascot, Wally Goose, who will be on-hand all day to help celebrate Wawa’s milestone birthday.
“2014 is a milestone year for Wawa, in more ways than one! We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary in retail and the release of a book written by our former President and CEO, Howard Stoeckel; we’re launching The Wawa Foundation; and we’re celebrating the grand opening of 45 new stores,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s President and CEO. “We’re moving full-steam ahead and could not be more excited to celebrate the customers and associates who have made this success possible, and share our exciting plans to fulfill customers’ lives in new and meaningful ways well into the future.”