While the first Wawa retail store didn’t open until 1964, the business dates all the way back to 1802. Wawa began as an iron foundry in New Jersey, but by the end of the century, Owner George Wood decided to turn it into a dairy business. The first Wawa location was opened in 1902 in Delaware Valley and the milk that the store sold was a huge success, especially during the 1920s when the demand for dairy products increased.
By the 1960s, home-delivered milk was a dwindling trend, so Wood’s grandson Grahame decided to open the first Wawa Food Market in 1964. Wood sold his own Wawa milk and incorporated a goose into its logo because the word “wawa” is a Native American word for the Canadian Goose often found in the Delaware Valley.
By 1989, there were nearly 400 Wawa convenience stores and the company was one of the first to incorporate computer touch screens for food and drink orders. A Wawa gas card was introduced in 2007, but Chase (the bank through which the card was available) discontinued it in 2010. Today, Wawa is still family-owned and has over 640 locations throughout the eastern U.S.