Wawa: Convenient eats with local flavor

Wawa is the only gas station and convenience store popular enough to have hundreds of Facebook groups singing its praise.

In fact, there are four Temple groups for the convenience store chain.

So what is it about the privately owned, Mid-Atlantic chain that Temple students go crazy for?

The No. 1 reason Temple students like Wawa is its touch-screen computers. Though the new “kiosk” system for ordering food in the Student Center is less than thrilling to many students, Wawa seems to have mastered this technology.

In addition to the touch-screens, junior Luke Holtje said he shops at Wawa because of its great gas prices, lines that always move quickly and the chain’s wide selection of food, beverage and everyday items.

Several confirmed that Wawa stations tend to have the cheapest gas, and the company’s
Web site lists hundreds of hot and cold food items offered exclusively at its stores. One of the most popular sellers is the chain’s own brand of iced tea, of which eight varieties are offered.

“The coffee selection is outstanding and it’s all delicious,” said junior Alex Boylhart.

Despite being able to list several advantages of shopping at Wawa, Holtje said he enjoys 7-Eleven as well.

“We all want what we can’t have … because
there are two 7-Elevens on campus. The general consensus is that Wawa is better,” he said.

Other students took a different approach to preferring Wawa over 7-Eleven.

“They [Wawa] pay you to use the ATM by giving you a sandwich coupon, and, of course their hoagies are absolutely amazing,” freshman John Barrett said.

But sophomore Jackie Wilson countered, saying she preferred 7-Eleven.

“I don’t care how great Wawa is, 7-Eleven takes Diamond Dollars,” she said.

A few students said that Sheetz, another privately-owned gas station and convenience store enterprise, is even better than Wawa and 7-Eleven.

Sheetz locations are primarily in Western Pennsylvania.

But freshman Lauren Moore, who belongs
to the Facebook group, “Temple Needs a Wawa!!!!” feels differently. She quickly said an Italian hoagie and Wawa’s lemonade iced-tea was her favorite meal and dismissed rumors that Sheetz was in the same league as Wawa.

“Definitely not,” she said. “I love my Wawa. Nothing could ever compare to it!”
Senior Matt Hamel has another reason to love Wawa. The company has been paying his bills for the past four years. A devoted Wawa employee, he said nothing tops “crazy co-workers and crazy customers.”

Wawa isn’t just winning awards and accolades; it’s also giving them out.

Because the company feels strongly about conservation, it established the Environmental Community Service Award this holiday season. Wawa, in conjunction with NBC 10, will be awarding two $5,000 grants to the middle school and high school that demonstrates worthwhile environmental
services and a connection to their communities.

Wawa has teamed up the Eagles at Lincoln
Financial Field. It is undertaking two major charitable endeavors this Thanksgiving and holiday season.

“Check out Hunger” is a fundraiser in which Wawa patrons have the opportunity to donate $1, $3 or $5 at the register to combat hunger. This year, the fundraiser runs from Nov. 6 to Nov. 26.

The second charitable event, “Hoagie Huddle for Hunger,” will take place Dec. 19 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Fifty lucky Wawa patrons and 25 Wawa employees, along with Eagles players, cheerleaders and Swoop the mascot, will share a day of rewarding community service, including making Wawa hoagies to be donated to local food banks.

Mary C. Schell can be reached at mary.schell@temple.edu.

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