Source: Triad Business Journal
North Carolina is the next battleground state for America’s second most important race… best regional gas station.
Last week Wawa announced plans to open eight new stores in North Carolina by 2024 with 15 more planned for 2025 and eighty total stores planned in the next decade. The gas station chain already has 1,027 locations in seven states and is known for its breakfast options, made-to-order hoagies, and no surcharge ATMs.
Oh, and it’s such a decisive favorite among People With Strong Opinions About Gas Stations that the New York Times labeled its following a cult.
The NC locations will premiere in Rocky Mount, Goldsboro, Greenville, Elizabeth City, Kill Devil Hills and Wilson.
If you’ve missed other breathtaking coverage of the “gas station wars” North Carolina has long been a stronghold for Wawa’s prime competitor Sheetz; another 24hr Pennsylvania based gas station with made-to-order food service and a devoted fanbase. Sheetz currently has 322 fewer stores nationally but a 113 store head start in the Tarheel State.
Wawa runs unopposed in Delaware, Florida, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. Sheetz has exclusivity in Ohio, West Virginia, and for a few more months, North Carolina. It’s a tossup for filling station supremacy in Virginia, Maryland, and their shared home state of Pennsylvania.
If the advantages of incumbency count for gas stations and drive-throughs, Wawa may have an uphill battle to win the hearts and wallets of North Carolinians.
Either way it’s a potential win for small town economies.
Each new Wawa location costs an estimated $7 million in construction and requires 140 contractors. In their press release, Wawa also noted that each store employs 35 employees and the entire expansion is calculated to produce 2,800 jobs. For scale, the city of Durham’s entire workforce is 2,600 employees.
Toss in a trademark Sizzli™ breakfast sandwich and you’ll have our attention.