How far will Wawa follow its followers?
The devotion that Wawa’s customers feel for the convenience store chain has been described as cult-like, and that has inspired the business to follow its devotees into an expanding list of geographical markets.
Wawa yesterday said that it plans to launch its first stores in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. These locations will be in addition to its previously announced plans to move into Tennessee where it sees the opportunity to open up to 40 stores.
The store openings in the four states are part of Wawa’s strategy to move into markets where it won’t get ahead of its supply chain. Wawa is looking to open stores beginning in 2025. It said it would reveal the number of locations it plans to operate at some point in 2023.
“We have received thousands of requests over the years to spread our wings further west,” John Poplawski, vice president of real estate for Wawa, said in a statement.
“Growth means strengthening our existing markets as well as expanding to both adjacent and new markets so we can reach new friends and neighbors and welcome them as part of our extended family,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. “These markets are the perfect places for Wawa to expand based on their strong business communities, their family-like atmosphere, and the confidence that our unique offer and amazing associates will be welcomed by these communities.”
Wawa is continuing to open new locations in its existing markets. The convenience store retailer in April said it was looking to expand its physical presence in the Florida Panhandle along with adjacent markets in South Alabama. It is actively scouting potential sites for new stores in Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee in Florida. It is doing the same in Mobile, AL. Wawa expects to open 40 new stores in these areas, with the first making its debut in 2024.
The convenience store chain opened its first Florida store in 2012 and expects to have 250 in operation across the state by the end of the year.
- Wawa Sets Sights on Newest Wawalands with Plans to Expand into Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky – Wawa/Globe Newswire
- Wawa Announces Plans for Expansion into Nashville, Tennessee with First Store Slated for 2025 – Wawa
- Wawa Announces Plans for Continued Expansion into the Florida Panhandle and South Alabama – Wawa
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What makes Wawa special in the eyes of its customers and how does it ensure that it carries that uniqueness into new territories? How do you expect Wawa to fare in markets like Indiana where a strong convenience operator with local ties — Casey’s General Store — is already present?