Wawa Company History Timeline

1964
Founded in 1964 by Grahame Wood--Dick's first cousin once removed--Wawa began as a roadside dairy market in the Philadelphia suburbs.
1968
The 1968 edition of Dun and Bradstreet's Million Dollar Directory listed Wawa Dairy Farms as having 250 employees and 9 million in annual sales.
1968 The first New Jersey store opens.
1969
1969 The first Delaware store opens.
1970
In 1970, Grahame hired his cousin's son, Richard D. Wood Jr.--Dick--a young lawyer who'd advised companies on mergers and acquisitions and IPOs.
1970's 1970 Pre-made hoagies and sandwiches are introduced.
1972
1972 A new slogan People on the Go Go to Wawa Food Markets is introduced.
1972 Wawa stores stay open round-the-clock.
1974
1974 The Goose and gold background are added to the Wawa logo.
1975
1975 Wawa stores begin brewing and selling fresh coffee.
1977
In 1977, Wawa began sharing ownership of the company with its associates through profit-sharing plans.
1978
1978 The 200th Wawa store opens in Souderton, NJ.
1979
Sales per store, which averaged 11,000 a week in 1979, had jumped to 20,000 a decade later.
1980
1980's 1980 Wawa wins Best of Philly award for coffee.
1982
Which has paid off handsomely for longtime employees like Cheryl Farley, who started part time at Wawa in 1982.
1982 Wawa separates the deli from the checkout counter for speedier service.
1984
1984 Hoagies are now Built-to-Order.
1984 Hot foods are introduced Here comes the Meatball Express.
1985
In 1985 the company began test-marketing Lite Bite salads, its first product directly targeted to working women.
In 1985, Wawa partnered with PNC Bank to facilitate surcharge free ATM transactions for its customers in 6 states.
1985 The 300th store opens in Woodstown, NJ.
1986
1986 Wawa wins Best of Philly award for coffee and deli.
1987
The conventional merchandising wisdom in a convenience store is to get the customer to buy something she didn't really walk in to buy, Frederic Schroeder, Wawa's vice-president for marketing, told a Chain Store Age Executive reporter in 1987.
1988
Wawa began a program of eliminating ozone-layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons CFCs in 1988.
1988 The President s Club is launched to recognize and celebrate Wawa s store managers.
1990
By the end of 1990 the Wawa chain had grown to about 485 stores in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.
1991
In 1991 prepared foods as opposed to packaged items were accounting for 25 percent of Wawa's sales, with the average gross margin per location, after spoilage, 55 percent.
1992
On Hoagie Day--May 6, 1992--the company celebrated by building a 500-foot-long sandwich.
Wawa's deli facilities were making more than 50,000 sandwiches a day in 1992, when it had the hoagie declared the official sandwich of Philadelphia through a promotion that secured 30,000 signatures to support the designation.
1992 The Shorti Hoagie is introduced.
In 1992, Wawa formalized its associate ownership with its Employee Stock Ownership Plan ESOP , with stock being awarded to associates annually based on the prior year's service.
1994
Although store size stayed about the same, sometimes the company had to buy the lot next door to increase parking for the growing number of customers, who brought the weekly sales level per store to 35,000 in July 1994.
Haley started at Wawa in 1994, and is in all respects a company lifer.
1994 First super store opens in Tinicum, PA. It was 5,700 sq. ft. and had 50 parking spots.
1995
ATM services were developed in later years, and all Wawa stores had ATMs by 1995.
1996
With 515 outlets in 1996, Wawa Inc. was one of the largest privately held convenience-store chains in the United States.
Wawa-owned refrigerated units like walk-in coolers and deli dairy cases in its stores were being slowly replaced or converted, with completion of the project scheduled for 1996.
1996 The Sizzli breakfast sandwich is introduced.
1996 First fuel store opens in Millsboro, DE.
1997
In the decades after the massacre, there were no public memorials or other events commemorating it. It wasn't until 1997 a full 76 years after the event that the government formed an official Race Riot Commission to investigate the details of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
1998
Wawa ownership was mostly split between two separate family trusts, and one trustee started trying to force a sale or an IPO. In 1998, the company sold a stake to an investment group controlled by the McNeil family--the Tylenol heirs--who, within five years, tried to force Wawa to go public.
1998 First store in Virginia opens.
1998 The Wawa Bakery is introduced.
1999
1999 The Rendelli hoagie is featured at Hoagie Day to raise funds for education.
2000
At least ten more Wawa stores were expected to be selling gasoline by the year 2000, on larger properties than its current superstores, which averaged about 5,000 square feet.
2002
2002 The Wawa Dairy celebrates its 100th anniversary.
2003
A Wawa share was about 900 when its ESOP expanded in 2003.
2004
2004 The 24 oz. coffee cup Big 24 is introduced.
2004 Gottahava Wawa is launched.
2005
In 2005, Wawa also entered into a partnership with JPMorgan Chase to provide a Visa credit card inscribed with the Wawa brand name.
2005 Toasting begins in stores.
2006
2006 Wawa s annual charitable giving tops 5.6 million.
2008
2008 Coffeetopia celebrates Wawa s coffee selection.
2010
2010 April 14, 2010 1 billionth surcharge-free ATM transaction is celebrated.
2010's 2010 Built-to-Order Smoothies and Frozen Cappuccinos are launched.
2012
2012 First Florida store opens in Orlando on July 18.
2012 Freshly made Specialty Beverages like Hot Iced Lattes, Hot Chocolates, and more are launched.
2013
A one-time Deloitte analyst who became CEO in 2013, Gheysens took over in the midst of the company's push into Florida.
By 2013, its Facebook page boasted at least 1 million likes .
2014
2014 Wawa celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
2015
In 2015, a study confirmed what many convenience store shoppers already knew Wawa is the best.
2016
The New Rivals Fast food, old and new Panera 2.8 billion in revenue in 2016, before it sold for 7.5 billion to German conglomerate JAB , Dunkin' Donuts 860 million in revenue , Chipotle 4.5 billion in revenue --and even the fast-growing likes of Sweetgreen.
2017
Top dog in the 550 billion United States convenience store industry is 7-Eleven, which took in 29 billion in United States revenue in 2017.
2019
In mid-2019 it introduced catering services across all its stores.
The company has been expanding beyond its mid-Atlantic base, now boasting more than 160 stores in Florida. It is growing in existing markets as well and opened its fifth Washington, DC store in late 2019.
2020
In 2020, just one year away from the 100-year anniversary, an extensive curriculum on the massacre was finally provided to Oklahoma school districts.
Founded
1964
Company Founded
Headquarters
Media, PA
Company Headquarter
Founders
Grahame Wood
Company Founders

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