'A cultural institution': Hundreds welcome Wawa's new flagship store

Hadas Kuznits
December 14, 2018 - 11:29 am
Hundreds of people showed up Friday for the grand opening of Wawa's flagship and largest store at Sixth and Market streets.

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Hundreds of people showed up Friday for the grand opening of Wawa's flagship and largest store at Sixth and Market streets in the historic Public Ledger building, and Wawa pulled out all the stops.

Lines of eager hoagie lovers wrapped around the building for free early morning merch. Even part of Chestnut Street was shut down to accommodate a Wawa parade, as well as remarks from Mayor Jim Kenney and a hoagie-building contest.

"Opening up in historic Philadelphia has always been a dream for us," said Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. "We've looked for years, so let's make it the biggest Wawa at 11,500 square feet."

The opening marks Wawa's largest store ever, but why makes customers keep coming back?

"It's unique," said Gheysens, "and Wawa is Wawa to Philadelphia, and really, this store in particular, the whole image was about making Philadelphia pride show through."

"I have to say, the people here look at Wawa like it's a cultural institution," said one customer. "I don't know how or why, but since I've lived here, it's always amazed me."

Chris Davis, who recently moved to Philly from California, said he discovered the importance of Wawa to its residents in just the short time that he's been here.

"I mean, Mayor Kenney is there delivering a speech on the core values of Wawa," he said. "Philly people just love local stuff that's good."

"It's a little overwhelming," admitted Phil from Bensalem. "I'd be interested to see what it's like when it dies down a little bit. All you see is people right now."

Gheysens noted that the design of the store is intended to represent the best of the city.

"We're in an historic building, the Public Ledger, and so when you come in to get your coffee every day, you're going to be reminded of all the unique and wonderful things that are Philadelphia," he said. "That was our mission."