In honor of its 54th anniversary in convenience retailing, this year’s Wawa Day is Thursday, April 12, and Wawa will offer customers free coffee all day. Wawa expects to give away 2 million free cups of any-size coffee to customers at its more than 790 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.
In April of 1964, Wawa entered the retail business when it opened its first convenience store. In April 2014, Wawa celebrated its 50th anniversary and marked the milestone with the first Wawa Day event and the launch of The Wawa Foundation, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization founded to encompass most of Wawa’s charitable giving.
At its inception, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation set a goal to donate $50 million to causes supporting health, hunger and everyday heroes by 2018. Wawa and its foundation announced they had met the $50 million goal earlier this year, and over the past four years have donated $50 million to causes surrounding health, hunger and heroes throughout Wawa’s operating area.
“Wawa Day is a great day for us to all pause and thank the millions of customers we’ve served over the past 54 years who have made us an integral part of the communities we serve,” said Chris Gheysens, president and CEO. “This year’s Wawa Day is particularly special because we are also celebrating that, in just over four years, through Wawa and The Wawa Foundation, we have supported thousands of non-profit organizations and achieved our goal of donating $50 million by 2018. We could have never done this alone and thank all of our customers who gave generously to our in-store campaigns and who make everything we do possible. Happy Wawa Day everyone and cheers to you all.”
In addition to giving away an expected 2 million free cups of coffee, Wawa will be celebrating with in-store digital tributes featuring photos of some of the many “Day Brighteners” at Wawa that embody the unique relationship between Wawa associates and customers.
Wawa Inc., a privately held company, began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Toward the end of the 19th century, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming, and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania, in 1902. The milk business was a huge success due to its quality, cleanliness and “certified” process.
As home delivery of milk declined in the early 1960s, Grahame Wood, George’s grandson, opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for its dairy products. Today, Wawa has grown to be a chain of more than 790 convenience retail stores (600-plus offering gasoline).
The stores offer a large fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa brands such as custom prepared hoagies, freshly-brewed coffee, hot breakfast sandwiches, specialty beverages and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks.