A long time ago I said to myself, “Wow, a Wawa would do wonderfully in Florida. I bet I could make a ton of money opening up a franchise here in the Sunshine State.” I was maybe all of 23 years old. But, I totally looked it up. The Wawa company didn’t franchise. All stores were company owned. Plus, I had like $500 to my name, and the capital requirements would likely be more than that. But, pish, pish- it was a darn good idea anyway and I knew it. And, yes, I always have the next billion dollar idea or way to make or save money. Well, years later, boy was I right. Wawa has a cult following; a following that certainly stayed with them as they opened Florida stores a few years back. Everyone who grew up with one as their ‘hometown’ corner store is stoked to have these little convenience store gems pop up in our beloved home state. To top it off, in Florida, they are also large gas stations. Wawa started that trend up north, but I feel like they have perfected the model here in the good ol’ southern most state of the USA. It’s just a plain cool to experience for a truly loved brand and real hometown staple show up in your chosen ‘new’ home. Florida is made up of a conglomerate of natives and ‘transplants.’ That is why brands like Wawa, born and bred in the northeast, do so well here. And, Wawa “Winter Garden” did not disappoint when we visited the location on it’s very first, grand opening, day.
I smiled from ear to ear as I filled up my tiny Civic with Wawa gas. I am sure people thought I was nuts taking a photo of my gas pumping experience.
Then, I strolled inside to fill up my cute red paper snowflake cup with my very first FREE Wawa Winter Garden “Holiday’ Blend coffee. Free is one of my favorite words in the English language, obviously. I blog about being ‘frugal’ and when Free things plus things I absolutely love come together…it’s an amazing feeling.
I perused the store and noted the TastyKakes, Herr’s chips, and other Philly brands that warmed my heart and filled me with joy to see them show up here in Florida. I also thought about the Philly cheesecake on the Philly-made on the genuine ‘Amoroso’s’ roll I would order the next time I stopped by the little store for lunch or dinner. There was also a big beer cooler. Beer in Pennsylvania is only sold in separate state stores and while I have lived in FL for many years, seeing Beer sold in a Wawa had a coolness factor of its own for sure.
The trip was truly more than any born and bred Philly girl could wish for in her new(ish) chosen hometown of Winter Garden, FL where we live, own a beautiful home, and are raising two little kids of our own.The “Grand Opening” trip made me think about why I started this blog adventure- to bringing fun and exciting stories, brands, events, and moments in time to educate a little, warm hearts, and to bring people a smile. It’s purpose is to make life a bitter better for my readers, even temporarily bring happiness and joy- just like FREE Holiday blend coffee brought to me! If only Wawa could have brought down a slight temperature dip to the South for the Holidays, the magic would have been off the charts. Unfortunately, I sat outside and drank my hot coffee in 80 degree weather. But considering I haven’t owned a shovel or really a winter coat since 2002, I am OK with that part.
Two Cent Tip- Wawa has FREE (there’s that word again) ATM’s. So, save a few bucks and swing by if you need to fill your tank, a Peanut butter TastyKake, or a pound of delicious coffee!