Wawa is reportedly planning to double its store count to 1,800 locations by 2030, according to Philly Voice. CEO Chris Gheysens noted that the expansion will include both “traditional” neighborhood stores and “non-traditional” rest-stop style formats in new and existing markets, as well as drive-thrus.
The expansion includes plans to “fill in the market” in the states between Virginia and Florida, where Wawa already has a foothold, according to Gheysens. The retailer expects to open its first store in North Carolina in 2024 and could look into opening stores in South Carolina and Georgia as well. The expansion plans will not include opening stores past New Jersey, which is currently the retailer’s northernmost market.
Store openings in existing markets will include two standalone drive-thru stores in Pennsylvania, with plans to bring the format to Florida in 2023. The drive-thru concept features a limited selection of items designed to emphasize speed and convenience. Prepackaged snacks and larger items like gallons of milk would be among the products cut from the usual inventory.
Wawa launched the drive-thru concept in late 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By expanding the concept, Wawa may be able to better compete against convenience delivery services such as Gopuff and Kroger Delivery Now. While Wawa can’t match the ease of home delivery offered by these services, the drive-thru stores don’t charge customers delivery fees and save the retailer the headache of dealing with last mile costs.