Apr 16, 2024 - News

A brief history of Wawa

Illustration of a goose reading a history book.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Wawa wasn't built in a day — but over two centuries plus. Here's a quick rundown.

1803: Wawa started off as an iron foundry in New Jersey.

1865: The company was incorporated as Millville Manufacturing Co., a textile business.

1902: Owner George Wood began a dairy farm in Wawa, Pennsylvania, specializing in "doctor-certified" milk.

  • This was before pasteurization and customers needed to ensure what they were drinking was safe.

1964: Owner Grahame Wood opened the first Wawa Food Market in Folsom, selling the company's dairy products to offset declining milk home-delivery service.

1970: Premade hoagies and sammies were introduced.

  • Wawa's first stores opened in Philly, including at 36th and Chestnut streets.

1974: Wawa added the goose and gold background to its logo.

1975: Store managers begin brewing and selling coffee.

1981: Wawa grows to 240 stores in five states.

1992: The Shorti Hoagie is born.

1995: ATMs installed in stores.

2002: Touch-screen ordering kiosks are introduced.

2012: The longtime Wawa at 17th and Arch streets in Center City is redesigned.

  • Wawa opens its first Florida location.

2018: Wawa introduces a Thanksgiving catering option.

2021: Actress Kate Winslet describes Wawa as a "mythical place."

2023: The company grows to about 1,000 locations with $18.9 billion in revenue, per Forbes.


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