Way back in April 1964, area convenience kings Wawa opened up their first shop in Folsom, Delaware County, setting off a chain of events that would land them in the hearts and minds of Philadelphians everywhere some 50 years later. They’ll celebrate that fateful day at Wawa’s 17th and Arch location this Wednesday, April 16—henceforth known as “Wawa Day.”
No, you don’t get off for it. Yet.
Mayor Nutter will join CEO Chris Gheysens at their Arch Street location to declare April 16—the day when Wawa’s Folsom store opened in 1964—as the city’s official Wawa Day in honor of the company's 50th anniversary. It will be one of joy and frolic—and hoagies.
With some 400 million customers every year, convincing people around here to celebrate a spot to grab gas and an Icee shouldn’t be all that difficult—especially with how much love we have for Wawa that regularly comes out completely unsolicited. Gheysens breaks it down for CBS:
“The company says they serve 400 million customers a year, which may be hard to believe for those who were around for the very first store opening in Folsom on April 16, 1964.
“The original design was really as an outlet for the Wawa dairy products at store number one,” Gheysens said. Fast forward to today and customers are able to fill up their gas tanks, get that morning cup of coffee and tap on a touch screen to get their lunch or dinner for the day. It’s the idea of “casual comfortableness” that Gheysens says has them competing with otherconvenience stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
“I think the 50th for us is about thanking Philadelphia, thanking the customers in the Delaware Valley and really the six states we operate in,” he said. “We wouldn’t be here without how well and warmly embraced we’ve been.”
That embrace, luckily, will likely continue in the area, despite Wawa launching 36 stores in Central Florida in under two years. As it turns out, there are “no other states in the works,” Gheysens told CBS.