Wawa May Venture Into New Store Format

The retailer’s CEO outlined plans for “Wawa on steroids” in its new and existing markets.

January 25, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Wawa is planning to open travel centers in its new and existing markets in the coming years, according to CEO Chris Gheysens, reports Patch.

“Think of it as a Wawa on steroids. A lot bigger of a store, a lot bigger of an offer, a lot bigger of a parking lot, more amenities," Gheysens said during the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia's 2023 Economic Outlook.

The travel centers would not provide overnight stay, but they would have amenities for light-duty vehicles carrying individual and family travelers and some single-day commercial truckers.

Wawa’s next step is identifying where to build these travel centers, according to Gheysens, who said these would be located in “more high-profile locations” on major highways. A company spokesperson said Wawa is most likely five years away from opening this type of location.

Gheysens also said Wawa already has a few “quasi-travel centers” in its existing markets, including one in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and one in Virginia. These have performed well for the company, he said.

Gheysens said that Wawa is in the midst of its “most aggressive growth” in the company’s history. Wawa plans to operate 1,800 stores by 2030, almost doubling its current store count of 975, and expand its store presence into states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. The retailer currently operates locations in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Wawa discussed its social purpose with NACS in the 2021 Ideas 2 Go video series. For more on how convenience retailers are engaging customers, read “Today’s Customer Journey” in NACS Magazine.