BRADENTON, Fla. — Wawa Inc. held the grand opening of its new Bradenton, Fla., convenience store, on August 20, reaching the milestone of the company’s 700th location.
As reported in CSP Daily News, the event featured 700 themed festivities and 700 free samples, as well as 700 free t-shirts and a prize for the 700th customer.
The store will offer free coffee through August 30, as well as grand-opening specials on fountain drinks and Shorti hoagies.
“We are thrilled to bring the Wawa experience to the residents with the opening of our second store in Bradenton, and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to fulfilling lives with our fresh food and beverages and with meaningful connections with our new friends and neighbors,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO. “And, we are delighted to mark the milestone of our 700th store chainwide with the Bradenton community.”
The new store opened to the public at 8:00 a.m. The festivities included local officials and members of the community; members of the Manatee Sheriff’s Department and Cedar Hammock Fire Control District; Wawa vice president of real estate, Peter Gilligan; Wawa director of store operations, Todd Souders; Wawa area manager, Peter Rasmussen; store general manager, Catherine Smith; Wawa associates; and customers, as well as Wawa’s mascot, Wally Goose.
The event began with a performance by the Southeast High School Band, followed by a parade of Wawa’s history through the ages, including milestones.
Also, the store held a charitable hoagie sandwich-building competition between members of the Manatee Sheriff’s Department and Cedar Hammock Fire Control District to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way. Wawa will conclude the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks on behalf of the winning and runner up teams for $1,000 to the charities of their choice.
Smith will serve as general manager of the store, leading a team of nearly 45 associates, all of which are new positions brought to the area through the development of this convenience store. Associates in these full and part-time positions will not only receive competitive salaries and health benefits, but once eligible, will participate in Wawa’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Wawa Associates own more than 43% of Wawa through the ESOP.
Wawa, a chain of approximately 700 convenience stores (more than 440 offering gasoline), located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, is based in Wawa, Pa. The stores offer a large fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa brands such as built-to-order hoagies and specialty beverages, coffee, breakfast sandwiches and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks.