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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.
Wawa has ascended to the quadruple-digit club. The Delco-based convenience chain on Thursday opened its 1,000th retail location, one more step in a grand plan that includes expansion in its home region and the Midwest.
The newest Wawa outlet is on the White Horse Pike in Oaklyn, N.J., a little over a mile south of Collingswood and a 15-minute drive from Center City Philadelphia. Yes, you can fuel up there.
Inside, the store is equipped with everything Wawa is known for, plus some of the bells and whistles the brand is still rolling out. In addition to grab-and-go packaged snacks and bottled beverages, customers can hit up the classic coffee station, get frozen drinks, baked goods, Sizzlis, custom-made hoagies — and new items like burgers and fries. There’s also a self-checkout option.
No other location has an exterior quite like this one, because the milestone is emblazoned on the facade, which features giant red letters spelling out “1,000th Store” beneath the Wawa logo.
That number doesn’t come close to matching the footprint of 7-Eleven, which has nearly 9,500 retail shops across the U.S. and some 75,000 worldwide. But it definitely beats the chain’s best-known rival. Sheetz has around 675 locations, including many in its home turf of Western Pa., where Wawa has just begun to make inroads.
Wawa, which is now in six states, actually got its start in New Jersey.
After starting the business in 1803 as an iron foundry, founder George Wood pivoted to dairy farming. The first dairy processing plant opened a century later in Wawa, Pa. Retail came onto the scene in 1964 with the launch of a store in Folsom, Pa., and it’s been a steady climb outward from there.
With some $15 billion in annual sales, Wawa is Pennsylvania’s largest privately owned company — Forbes recently ranked it No. 29 nationally — and 39% of it is owned by staff or former staff, thanks to one of the country’s largest employee stock ownership plans.
The Oaklyn store will employ a workforce of approximately 50 people, which the company touts as new jobs for the area.
Scroll down for a look inside the world’s 1000th Wawa.