Get ready for a new wave of super convenience stores in the Tampa Bay area. Kentucky-based Thornton's and Wawa, headquartered in the Philadelphia area, plan to build in multiple locations throughout the region.
They're both larger and packed with more products than typical convenience stores in our area. Thornton plans 15 to 20 stores in the area. Wawa may build 100 stores in Tampa Bay and Orlando.
WHAT'S A WAWA?
Wawa is an American Indian word for a Canada goose. They have nearly 600 stores, most in the northeastern United States. They feature freshly prepared sandwiches and other foods.
Wawa competes with McDonald's, Starbuck's and Subway for consumers looking for a quick meal or a cup of gourmet coffee, as well as gasoline and other products.
Thornton's has 165 stores in six states, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic region. They have at least eight varieties of coffee, a "Fizz Freeze" to compete with the venerable Slurpy, and "The Beer Cave," with many brands cold and ready to go.
USF marketing professor Dip Biswas says a gasoline price war could break out because of the new stores, but they like that.
"If you're there for the gas, you might as well go inside for their food. So, they'll make money on the food, the gas is just to get you in," Biswas said.
A Wawa location on Dale Mabry near Cypress Street is under construction. The first area Thornton's is scheduled to open Tuesday morning on Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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