An interior view of the fast food restaurant at a Wawa convenience store in Orlando, Florida – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Joni Hanebutt
Wawa is celebrating a total of 250 Florida stores in the span of 10 years with free fountain beverages and coffee all day on July 18. This follows the fun celebration on July 14 at the Central Florida Parkway Wawa location just across SeaWorld Orlando that brought together several people who were involved in the convenience store’s grand opening a decade ago.
“It was a kind of a family reunion,” said Lori Bruce, Wawa’s senior manager for media relations. “We brought together some of the pioneers, the associates [and] customers who were with us that first day 10 years ago, as well as our community partners, which are just a wonderful part of the Wawa story in Florida.”
During the special event, a plaque was placed at the location commemorating the major milestone.
“That’s where it all began at that first store right there” Bruce said. “Ten years ago was just the beginning of what has been an incredible, amazing experience and growth in investment in Florida.”
According to Bruce, Wawa has become an important part of the community in a relatively short amount of time. “People will come and [take] their wedding photos in front of our stores [because] it’s where they met or it’s where they have a fond memory.” Bruce added that she’s even heard of people getting Wawa-inspired tattoos, saying “It sounds crazy, but it is a thing!”
As part of the Wawa party, the convenience store chain has announced the development of the Florida 10th Anniversary Fund to commemorate Wawa’s decade-long presence in the Sunshine State. The fund will feature $100,000 in donations that will be “spread across 1,000 local nonprofits in areas surrounding health, hunger, and everyday heroes,” according to a press release. Grant amounts will range from $1,000-$2,500 and eligible nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply at the official Wawa website by August 31.
Wawa’s president and CEO, Chris Gheysens, released a statement about the milestone, stating “We’re thrilled to offer all Florida customers free coffee on July 18 and celebrate that with the launch of the Florida 10th Anniversary Fund to support all the nonprofit organizations that give back to our communities in countless ways, every day. Cheers to 10 years in the Sunshine State and to many more decades of growth and fulfilling lives in Florida!”
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Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.