Wawa marks official entrance into North Carolina with first store in Kill Devil Hills; 10 stores to open in North Carolina by year’s end – OBX Today

Wawa marks official entrance into North Carolina with first store in Kill Devil Hills; 10 stores to open in North Carolina by year’s end - OBX Today
The first Wawa in the state of North Carolina opened its doors on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Kill Devil Hills. (Courtesy Braithwaite Communications)

Wawa, Inc. today announced a significant milestone in the Company’s history – the grand opening of its first Wawa store in the state of North Carolina.

Located in Dare County at 1900 Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, this location is the first of nine Wawa stores slated to open in North Carolina before the end of summer and 10 by year’s end. During this historic event, Wawa was joined by local officials, heroes and community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, parade of Wawa history, local cheerleaders, and a “Hoagies for Heroes” charitable hoagie building competition recognizing local everyday heroes serving their communities.

To mark the milestone, The Wawa Foundation announced a $2,500 grant to the Coast Guard Foundation to support moral and wellness initiatives for Coast Guard members and their families in the Kill Devil Hills area, specifically at the Oregon Inlet unit. In addition, another grant was made to Special Olympics of North Carolina for $2,500 to support Dare County athletes to compete in the largest state-level event, the Summer Games on June 2-4.

“We are excited to fly into North Carolina and bring our unique combination of fresh food and beverage, convenience and service to this state for the very first time. This historic milestone kicks off our ongoing growth and expansion in North Carolina as we continue to build new stores and create new jobs,” said Brian Schaller, President of Wawa. “We are also thrilled about extending our commitment to being a good neighbor to Dare County, and our partnerships with the Coast Guard Foundation and Special Olympics North Carolina Dare County athletes are examples of how we will support local causes.”

Grand Opening Details

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, Wawa’s doors opened for the first time in North Carolina to welcome new friends and neighbors! The first 250 customers received special milestone Wawa t-shirts. At 10 a.m., the celebration began with local officials joining Wawa associates, Wawa’s mascots Wally Goose and Shorti, and community partners for this landmark event. The event included color guard and a national anthem singer from the US Coast Guard and cheerleaders from Dare County Special Olympics, followed by the introduction of the store team and the first official “Wawa Parade through the Ages,” which visually highlighted key milestones in Wawa history. Immediately following the parade, Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens spoke about the significance of the company’s first store in the state and expected local and state impact through continuing Wawa expansion in North Carolina markets. The Wawa Foundation announced grants to community partners including $2,500 to the Coast Guard Foundation and $2,500 to Special Olympics of North Carolina. The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting, officially marking the Company’s entrance into the state. For a link to b-roll footage from the grand opening event, click here.

The event also included North Carolina’s first Hoagies for Heroes charitable hoagie building contest, as members of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department, the Coast Guard Foundation and Dare County Special Olympics athletes face off in a battle of bravery, skill and sandwich-making expertise. Each team was challenged to see who can build the most hoagies in three minutes in the traditional Wawa way. Wawa concluded the Hoagies for Heroes competitions by presenting checks on behalf of the winning and runner up teams, for $1,000 to the charities of their choice.

Conni Sanchez will serve as General Manager of the store, leading a team of 35 associates, new positions brought to the area through the new store. Associates in these full- and part-time positions will not only receive competitive salaries and health benefits, but they will participate in Wawa’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Today, Wawa Associates own more than 39% of the Company through the ESOP. Associates also have access to the ingredients that build a career, including training, development, educational assistance and a flexible, welcoming environment that helps everyone soar. Wawa’s expansion plans provide opportunities to join a growing company with opportunities and a culture where associates take the lead in bringing joy to new friends and neighbors and supporting their communities through volunteering, charitable giving and events. Soar with Wawa Video Gallery.

Wawa Expansion in North Carolina

By the end of 2024, Wawa will have 10 stores open in North Carolina serving Kill Devil Hills, Rocky Mount, Elizabeth City, Greenville and two stores in Wilson and Goldsboro. In 2025, Wawa projects opening up to 11 stores in additional counties including Robeson, Pitt, Cumberland, Onslow, Johnston, Nash, Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover. Over the next 8-10 years, Wawa plans to build and open 6-8 stores per year reaching a total of 90 stores in North Carolina. To build each store, Wawa will invest more than $7 million per store and employ, on average, 140 contractors and local partners to build the store. Once open, each store will employ an average of 35 associates with Wawa expecting to create more than 3,000 long-term new jobs as a result of expansion in North Carolina.

About Wawa’s Core Purpose

Wawa’s core purpose is Fulfilling Lives, Every Day. It captures Wawa’s special place in the world and recognizes Wawa’s higher calling beyond convenience and satisfaction. It inspires Wawa associates to create meaningful personal connections and make a real difference in the lives of customers, communities and each other, every day.

About Wawa’s and The Wawa Foundation’s Commitment to Local Communities
Through The Wawa Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded to support Wawa’s charitable giving and philanthropic activities, Wawa and The Wawa Foundation are committed to building stronger communities, specifically in the Foundation’s three focus areas of health, hunger and everyday heroes. Visit:  www.thewawafoundation.org.