Hi Tuesday!

  • ☀️ Sunny skies and highs around 72.

🪿 Programming note: We're not shamelessly plugging Wawa. The convenience store is a cultural and marketing tour de force, so we're celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first PA store opening with today's takeover edition.

Today's newsletter is 957 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Wawa marks a milestone

A star was born in Folsom in 1964. Photo: Courtesy of Wawa

Wawa is marking the 60th anniversary of the opening of its first convenience store with free coffee and promotions today.

Why it matters: In the six decades since its humble beginnings in Folsom, Pennsylvania, Wawa has built a brand with a devoted fan base that generates billions of dollars in revenue as it aspires to become a national brand.

Driving the news: The company is decking out stores with vintage decor, and tempting you with 60-cent promotions on birthday cake doughnuts and drinks to mark Wawa Day at all locations.

  • You also can fill up with a free hot coffee of any size all day.
  • Each store will randomly recognize a single customer as "Day Brighteners."

What else is happening: The day will kick off from 7-8am with a ceremonial coffee pour at Wawa's 6th and Chestnut Street store.

  • Then company officials will hand out $1 million in donations to charities and highlight Wawa's expansion plans.

Plus: A new Wawa exhibit will open at 9am at the National Constitution Center, focusing on teaching young people about American business and Wawa's growth over the years.

  • Admission to the museum is free all day.
  • Score yourself some free drinks and snacks from the 1918 Wawa milk truck parked outside the museum.

Zoom in: Wawa's longevity and cult brand have been fueled by more than its food options, coffee and deals.

What they're saying: Wawa's endurance has been fueled by authenticity, a fun name and its offering of fresh, quality foods, Barbara Kahn, marketing expert at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, tells Axios.

  • Philly is "loyal to people that treat them well and do the right thing by them and understand the culture of the city, and Wawa I think tapped into that Philly vibe," she said.

What's next: Wawa is growing.

  • The company's advertising budget has exploded over the last two decades, reaching about $100 million from around $7 million in 2004, per MediaRadar.
  • Wawa introduced its new retailer media platform, Goose Media Network, this year to better target customers and build partnerships with other brands, per MarketingDive.

The bottom line: The company is aiming to have stores in every state and open 100 locations a year.

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2. Wawa superfans connect with brand

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

👋 Isaac here! I have a deep, dark family secret: My pops is a Wawa "stan."

Threat level: He's so obsessed with the convenience store that, a couple of months ago, he texted my sister after she landed in Philly for the first time to ask whether she had tried Wawa.

We rolled our eyes. Philly has a renowned dining scene, and we're over here talking about a gas station, bro!

  • Our family jokes that he should become their ambassador.

The intrigue: I went looking for other self-proclaimed Wawa superfans, and found people counting down the days until the fast-food juggernaut expands to their neighborhoods.

Why it matters: Wawa is "life," superfan Camye Edwards of Tallahassee, Florida, tells Axios.

  • She once made a Wawa pit stop on the way to a funeral and is trying to convince her daughter to have the store cater her wedding.

What they're saying: Wawa has been described as a "clown car of a thing," because of its variety — made-to-order hoagies, quesadillas, pizza, doughnuts, coffee and more.

Flashback: My pops first tried Wawa about eight years ago, when he stayed with me for three months while I underwent chemotherapy for stage 3 testicular cancer at the Gibbon Building, a short walk from the Wawa on Walnut Street.

  • "Those were lifelines to happiness," my dad told me. "I left with great memories of a place that sustained me during an unsustainable time."

Read more

3. News Market: Double-deckers nixed

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

✂️ Mayor Cherelle Parker wants to cut about $900,000 from the Kensington health services nonprofit Prevention Point, which operates the city's largest needle exchange in the city.

❌ SEPTA canceled its yearslong plans to get double-decker train cars. The transit agency has already sunk $50 million into the delayed project. (CBS)

🏀 The WNBA is considering starting an expansion team in Philadelphia along with four other locations. (Bleacher Report)

4. The Wawa name and logo origin story

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty

👋 Hi, Mike here! I was curious how Wawa got its name and logo.

Answer: From Wawa, Pennsylvania.

Details: Owner George Wood set up the company's first dairy farm in the Delaware County community in 1902.

Plus: Wood also lived in Wawa near a train station where Canada geese gathered at a nearby creek.

  • Wawa takes its name from the Native American word meaning "wild goose."

The goose had been included in some of Wawa's dairy product logos since the early 1900s.

Yes, but: It wasn't until 1974 that the company's vintage goose and gold background appeared.

  • That's when a Villanova University student and part-time worker at a Delaware County Wawa submitted the design to a logo contest and won.

5. 🪿 1 Wawa history lesson to go

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.

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.

More history

🤗 Isaac is feeling eternally grateful this am for his dad, Wawa and everything life throws atcha.

📖 Mike is ending his book-reading hiatus to read "City Room" by Arthur Gelb.

Today's newsletter was edited by Delano Massey and copy edited by Steven Patrick.