Wawa is gearing up to build its first store in Ocala.
A groundbreaking event will be held Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. at 3601 E Silver Springs Blvd. It will mark the beginning of the popular mini-mart’s expansion into the Ocala market.
Wawa is inviting the community to come out for the ceremony. Members of the Wawa leadership team will be on hand for the event and will share plans for future development in the Central Florida area.
The first Wawa in the local area opened this past November in Oxford, just outside The Villages. That opening of that store, located at the intersection of U.S. 301 and County Road 466, was eagerly anticipated and it continued to draw large crowds of customers from throughout the area on a daily basis.
A more controversial Wawa is scheduled to be built at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and County Road 466 in Lady Lake. Local residents have expressed concerns about the mini-mart coming to Lady Lake, with one resident saying she’s afraid her hometown will become “gas station central.” But in November, a split Lady Lake Town Commission approved the location and the developer plans to partly build the 6,119-square-foot store on the lot where the local landmark known as “The Castle” once stood. The popular Lady Lake building was last home to Affordable Lock & Security Solutions before it was demolished in April.
Also in November, the commission told the owner of the lock business that it wouldn’t support the building of a new castle, as the old building didn’t meet the town’s existing design standards and was grandfathered in.
Wawa is a privately held company that started in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Toward the end of the 19th Century, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, Pa., in 1902. In the early 1960s, after home delivery of milk started to decline, Wood’s grandson, Grahame, opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products.
Today, Wawa offers everything from fresh foods – built-to-order hoagies, hot breakfast sandwiches, soups, sides and snacks – to an assortment of hot and cold specialty beverages to fuel services to surcharge-free ATMs. The chain includes more than 800 stores in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
The word Wawa is Native American for the Canada Goose that was found in the Delaware Valley more than 100 years ago. The original dairy farm was built on land located in a rural section of Pennsylvania called Wawa and that’s why there is a goose on Wawa’s corporate logo.