The people of Tampa now have a new favorite hang out, and it’s a gas station. Wawa opened at North 30th Street and East Fowler Avenue, much to the delight of many residents. This is the second Wawa store to open in the Tampa Bay area in the last few weeks. Now, the people of Tampa can find out what the big deal is about this national chain that offers gas, freshly prepared hot foods and delicious deli sandwiches.
There will be a total of seven stores that will be opened in Central Florida during the first half of 2013, in keeping with the company’s expansion plans in the state.
Those who “Gottahave Wawa” in Tampa can now get it.
What is Wawa?
Wawa is a national chain that is based in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania with over 600 stores all over the East Coast. It is now the biggest convenience store chain in the Greater Philadelphia area. The company’s name comes from the city of Wawa, which is where the first milk plant can be found.
The company was founded in 1964, initially selling milk products from its dairy farms. Today, Wawa ranks as the 47th largest private company in the country according to Forbes Magazine. In 2011, it has gross revenues of almost $7 billion.
Changing the face of convenience stores and gas stations
Convenience stores aren’t new, but Wawa has taken the concept to a whole new level. There are now Super Wawas in many parts of the East Coast, where people can gas their car, get good food, hang out and have a good time.
The products, great value and amazing customer service are what bring people to Wawa. The company offers its own line of sodas, iced tea, orange juice, and the hoagies are an especially popular item. Customers can gas their car at discounted prices compared to other stations, order a hoagie using a computer and even pick up a few items along the way.
Self-service food ordering
The gas station isn’t just self-service. Even the food items are now self-serve. Touch screen monitors have replaced order takers. This allows customers to input exactly what they want from an easy to use computer. The items ordered are freshly made, and customers can even see their orders being assembled right before their eyes. There’s no need to talk to a barista at Wawa. Customers can get a latte to go using the touch screen monitor as well.
This is in keeping with the overall trend of removing the middleman and having people do things for themselves to help cut down cost. Nowadays, there’s hardly a full service gas station left. There are even grocery stores with self-service checkout lanes today. It’s similar to what Internet giant Amazon did for shoppers, removing the middleman and letting customers serve themselves. Perhaps this concept will also one day move over to fast food chains across the country.
Photos by Sean Hopwood