Wawa Sets Foot in North Carolina: A New Chapter in Convenience and Community Engagement


WAWA, PA — In a move that marks a significant milestone in its expansion efforts, Wawa, the beloved convenience store chain known for its fresh food and beverages, has announced its entry into North Carolina. The grand opening of its first store in the state is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, at 1900 Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC, with festivities beginning at 8 a.m. and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.

This inaugural event will not only introduce Wawa’s unique brand of convenience to North Carolinians but also underscore its commitment to community engagement through partnerships, support for local organizations, and the “Hoagies for Heroes” initiative, celebrating local everyday heroes.

Following the Kill Devil Hills opening, Wawa has revealed that stores in Wilson, Rocky Mount, and Elizabeth City are under construction, and expected to welcome customers in the third quarter of 2024. Details on these openings will be released this summer, further expanding Wawa’s footprint in the state.

Kim Dowgielewicz, Director of Store Operations at Wawa, expressed excitement about serving new customers and communities, emphasizing the company’s dedication to becoming a steadfast community partner. Wawa’s ambitious plan includes the establishment of at least 80 stores across North Carolina over the next decade, with the first wave of 8 to 10 stores set to open in 2024, followed by up to 15 stores in 2025. This expansion strategy underscores Wawa’s commitment to growth and providing unparalleled convenience to more Americans.

The expansion into North Carolina is not just a business move; it represents a significant economic impact. Wawa’s investment of approximately $7 million per store will engage around 140 contractors and local partners during the construction phase. Once operational, each store will offer employment to an average of 35 associates, cumulatively creating more than 2,800 jobs across the state. This influx of new opportunities is a boon for local economies, offering both employment and career advancement prospects within a company renowned for its employee-centric culture.

Wawa’s introduction to North Carolina is also a testament to its innovative approach to retail convenience, blending high-quality, fresh food options with the traditional conveniences of a gas station. As the company prepares for its upcoming community partnership events in Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Fayetteville on May 14 and 15, it is clear that Wawa aims to weave itself into the fabric of North Carolinian communities.

Moreover, Wawa’s associate ownership model, where employees own 39% of the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), highlights its commitment to investing in its workforce. This model not only incentivizes employees but also fosters a culture of ownership and accountability, aligning employee success with the company’s growth.

As Wawa embarks on this new chapter in North Carolina, it brings with it a legacy of community involvement, job creation, and a unique shopping experience. The company’s expansion is poised to redefine convenience retail in the Tar Heel State, making every day brighter for communities while setting a new standard for how convenience stores operate and engage with their customers and employees alike.

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