Five Wawa openings in five weeks: When and where - FOX 13 News

Five Wawa openings in five weeks: When and where

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A new wave of convenience stores is taking the Bay Area by storm. They're called Wawa, and while they're intended to be a quick stop for customers, it's certainly a bit more glamorous than your average gas station.

From the outside, it looks like any other gas station. But step inside Wawa, and see how convenience store shopping quickly becomes a more formal affair.

"We're more like a restaurant-based business with a convenience store," said Wawa Pinellas Park manager Rich Morton.

The convenience store bakes its own bread for hoagies and they use touch-screens, so you can order sandwiches, drinks, even smoothies any way you like them.

The chain hires about 35 employees per store and they're looking locally as they expand in Florida.

Their employees have a reason behind their especially warm Wawa welcome.

"Wawa is a privately-owned company. They're 38-percent employee-owned, so every employee is actually an owner of Wawa," Morton said Thursday.

If you're wondering where the name "Wawa" came from, the convenience store chain's website says it's a Native American word for the Canadian goose found in the Delaware Valley.

The first of 10 Bay Area locations is poised to open on Friday in Pinellas Park. Their strategy to get you in the door? They promise to match or beat the gas prices of competitors.

"We have the same gas that the majors would have. We just price it at a point where we want to get people in our site and walk inside to see what's special and different," said Wawa president & CEO Chris Gheysens.

Expect to see those Wawa signs wash over Florida in force in the near future. They're projected to open 100 stores in the Sunshine State over the next five years.

"We're not good at going in and opening a few stores. We go in and build hundreds of stores starting here in Central Florida because we want to be in the community and really known on each and every corner as the place to go," Gheysens added.

And if you're wondering where the name Wawa came from, the convenience store chain's website says it's a Native American word for the Canadian goose found in the Delaware Valley.

Here is where the next five stores will open in the Tampa Bay area:

February 8th:

3101 Gandy Boulevard
Pinellas Park, FL

February 13th:
2901 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL

February 20th:
8519 US Highway 19
Port Richey, FL

February 27th:
8330 Ridge Road
New Port Richey, FL

March 6th:
4026 US Highway 19
New Port Richey, FL

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