Feb 26, 2024 - News

Wawa starts Indiana expansion

Wawa being built in Clark County, Indiana

One of Indiana's first Wawa stores being built at 1354 Veterans Parkway in Clarksville. Photo: Courtesy of Town of Clarksville

Wawa's first Indiana store is taking shape on the southern border, but the convenience store chain with the dedicated fanbase has big plans to expand across the entire state.

Why it matters: Wawa is one of those once-regional convenience store chains — much like Buc-ee's and Sheetz — with a feverish following. Anyone from Philly will wax poetic about Wawa and its famous hoagies, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

Driving the news: Wawa plans to add as many as 280 new stores over the next decade in Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Ohio and Kentucky, Bloomberg recently reported.

  • That target includes opening 60 stores in Indiana over the next 8-10 years.
  • CEO Chris Gheysens described this plan as "the most aggressive growth" in the chain's history, per Bloomberg.

Zoom in: Wawa previously disclosed plans to open 16 Indiana locations this year in Marion, Hamilton, Johnson, Hendricks, Hancock, Clark, Madison, Dearborn, Delaware and Wayne counties.

  • Indy locations are planned for West 86th Street and Zionsville Road, and East 96th Street and Delegates Row.
  • Opening dates for these stores have not been announced yet.

Zoom out: In expanding, Wawa will have to figure out how to adjust based on the preferences of its new market.

  • Fried chicken, Gheysens told Bloomberg, is a "convenience-store staple in the South, while customers in New Jersey might prefer hoagies."

💭 My thought bubble: I hope they don't adjust too much when they hit Central Indiana. In the six months I lived in Philadelphia after graduating from Purdue, I fell in love with Wawa's meatball and Italian hoagies. Never change, Wawa.

What we're watching: Where the other Indiana locations will be.

  • Wawa considers several factors when determining where to open, including adequate nearby residential populations and sites at high-volume intersections.
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