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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Wawa opens first store in North Carolina

The Pennsylvania-based Wawa convenience store chain opened its first North Carolina store Thursday in the coastal town of Kill Devil Hills.

Wawa plans to open 90 locations across the state in the eight to 10 years, with its first being located about halfway between the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Dare County.

Other Wawa stores in Wilson, Rocky Mount and Elizabeth City are under construction and expected to open in the third quarter, according to the company. Wawa plans to open eight stores this year in North Carolina, 11 in 2025 and 10 in 2026.

Wawa reports it has more than 30 sites under contract going through local approval process. In 2025, Wawa projects opening up 11 stores in Robeson, Pitt, Cumberland, Onslow, Johnston, Nash, Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

Wawa invests about $7 million in each store it opens and employs, on average, 140 contractors and others to open a store. Once open, each store employs about 35 workers. Wawa associates own 39% of the company through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

“We can’t wait to open our doors to our new North Carolina friends and neighbors and are excited for the chance to serve new customers and communities with our unique brand of fresh food, beverages and convenience,” said Kim Dowgielewicz, director of store operations, in a release.

Jay Ratcliffe will be the Wawa area manager for North Carolina, and Conni Sanchez will be the Wawa general manager in Kill Devil Hills.

Ratcliffe worked for Lowe’s for more than 20 years before joining Wawa in 2019 in Virginia. Wawa, which started in the Philadelphia suburbs in 1964, opened its first store in Alabama in April.

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