I’ve mentioned Wawa in previous posts, but I think it deserves a post all its own.
Here is a brief description I gave of Wawa in one of those posts:
If you haven’t heard of Wawa, then just imagine what the ultimate convenience store would be like, and that’s Wawa. It’s better than 7-Eleven, Sheetz, or any regional convenience store chain you can think of. It’s a Philadelphia based chain, with stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. If you ever visit the Philly area, then Wawa has to be on your list of places to visit.
in 2014, Wawa celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first store opening; today it has more than 730 stores, with 500 of those also selling fuel.
Here are some fun facts, courtesy of Wikipedia:
- The chain’s name comes from the site of the company’s first milk plant and corporate headquarters in the Wawa, Pennsylvania area. The name of the town Wawa is in turn derived from the Ojibwe word for the Canada goose. An image of a goose in flight serves as the Wawa corporate logo. It is said that the goose was chosen because the company employs the principles of teamwork, group consensus, and encouragement.
- In 2015, Wawa ranked 34th on the Forbes magazine list of the largest private companies, with total revenues of $9.68 billion. As of 2016, Wawa employs over 22,000 people. (Wawa offers its employees the chance to participate in its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), so that they can benefit from the positive impact they have on Wawa’s growth. Approximately 10,000 Wawa associates participate in the ESOP and collectively have more than a 40% ownership stake in the company.)
- Wawa was among the first convenience stores to implement self-serve computer touch-screen menus for food orders, in an attempt to improve order accuracy.
- One of the services I use quite a bit is the surcharge-free ATMs located in all its stores, the result of a partnership with PNC Bank that began in 1985. Wawa implemented the program in stores in 1996. In 2010, Wawa surpassed 1 billion transactions under the PNC brand.
- In some Jersey Shore towns, Wawa designs its stores to match the aesthetic, and changes operating procedures to adapt to shore culture. In Cape May City, Wawa has a Victorian-themed store. In Wildwood, it has a 1950s-themed store.
Here is another blurb about Wawa from a post I wrote about our first big snowstorm of the year:
It seems like every TV reporter out in the field was based out of a Wawa parking lot. And it seemed like every Wawa was open, one of the few businesses that was.
And here is an excerpt from a different post in which I talked about door etiquette:
Wawa has actually measured how long the average customer holds the door for someone, and they noticed at Wawa it was significantly longer than how long people held the door for someone at other establishments. So apparently it is something that differentiates Wawa from other businesses.
What inspired this post about Wawa is that it is currently running a 12-day promotion for its Reward Members (a free smartphone app customer loyalty program. Every day, from December 1 to December 12, it is giving away something for free to the Rewards Members.
Here is what the giveaways have been so far:
- December 1: any size fountain drink
- December 2: a donut
- December 3: Stride gum
- December 4: 32 ounce Powerade
- December 5: Nutella & Go (they announce the next day’s rewards in advance)
In November, it was giving away free coffee (any size) to its Reward Members every Friday.
You can be sure I will take, and have taken, full advantage of these freebies!
The other fun fact about Wawa is that its current CEO, Chris Gheysens, is a graduate of the Villanova School of Business (VSB). While I never had the opportunity to be his teacher, Chris was at VSB during my time at Nova.
As a result of this connection, we have been able to partner with Wawa for some events and programs at VSB. We chose a book about Wawa for our Read to Lead program two years ago and then Chris came as a guest speaker near the end of the semester.
We have also worked with Wawa as part of our Summer Business Institute program to offer students the opportunity to work on a real-world problem/opportunity that Wawa is currently facing. At the end of the program, the student teams present their solutions not only to their classmates and teachers, but Wawa executives as well.
I could go on and on about the other great things about Wawa such as its commitment to its local communities and the value it places on its employees, but hopefully by now it’s clear
And as their current slogan says,