What Is Wawa and What’s the Big Deal About It?

I wrote an article a little while back about Piggly-Wiggly, which is a grocery store chain with the most ridiculous name imaginable. Well, there is one to give them a run for their money: Wawa. Maybe because it sounds like the onomatopoeia of a sad trombone sound, but the name Wawa just brings a smile to my face. But it’s more than just a store seemingly named after a sound effect. What is Wawa? What does its name mean (actually)? What’s its deal? Let’s find out. 

What is Wawa?

Wawa is a chain of convenience stores and gas stations located on the East Coast—primarily within the Mid-Atlantic region. 

What does Wawa stand for?

It’s understandable why you might think that Wawa is an acronym, as it’s not a word you’ve probably heard before. What would WAWA stand for? Maybe…the Worldwide Agricultural Wholesome Association? Wonderful And Wholesome Artifacts? Watermelons, Apples, Walnuts, Aspirin? In fact, Wawa is not an acronym at all! 

What does Wawa mean?

The convenience store chain is named Wawa because Wawa, Pennsylvania is where an early version of the company was developed (and it’s still where Wawa’s corporate offices are located). As for what the town is originally named after, you can take a gander at the company’s logo for a clue.

Is Wawa a bird?

Yes, indeed. “Wawa” is an Ojibwe Native American word that translates, more or less, to “wild goose.” Hence, the Canadian goose you can see on the logo of the Wawa store chain.

Who owns Wawa?

No one but Wawa. As the Wawa website informs us, “Wawa is a privately held, family-owned company with 200+ years in American business.”

Is Wawa a franchise?

Alas, because it is still a privately held company, Wawa does not offer franchising opportunities. So if you’re looking to get into the convenience store game, you’ll have better luck sticking to somewhere like Hess or 7-Eleven.

What states have Wawa?

Wawa currently operates stores throughout the East Coast—specifically, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. There was once a time that Wawa locations extended into New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, but the company abandoned that territory in the 1990s. 

How many Wawa stores are there?

According to Scrape Hero, there are currently 1,032 Wawa locations in the United States, and the company has plans for more locations. 

What is Wawa known for?

Wawa is a standard convenience store company in a number of ways. However, apart from the run-of-the-mill chips, jerky, cookies, sosa, candy, and other snacks and drinks, Wawa is known for its more expansive food options—specifically their big, hoagie-style sandwiches that you can order via touch screen. Despite having lived most of my life on the East Coast, I don’t think I’ve ever actually set food in a Wawa, so I’ve never had the pleasure of grabbing one of these convenient and delicious sandwiches, but I’ve always wanted to try one. 

Where is the first Wawa?

The very first Wawa convenience store opened in 1964 in Folsom, PA. However, in 2016, that location was closed in favor of a Super Wawa down the street. The closure and new opening was celebrated with a parade from location to location. 

Now you’ve got the brouhaha on Wawa. Ta-da! Let me know if you’ve ever had one of their sandwiches—are they as amazing as I’ve been led to believe? 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.