Why WaWa?
November 26, 2007 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Why do people like WaWa so much?

How / why has WaWa accomplished such a "cool" image in the last few years? Where are they planning on going from here?

It seems they roll out new products quarterly which people always end up loving. I was lucky enough to acquire a WaWa hoodie and every time i where it out people stop me to say how awesome it is. Frequently people try to buy it off me even though its a couple years old.

Why does a convenience store have so much clout?
posted by Black_Umbrella to Society & Culture (34 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Cult of Convenience?

And I too am envious of your sweatshirt.
posted by suki at 9:55 AM on November 26, 2007

Let me note to those who are saying WTF right about now that Wawa stores are exclusive to the Eastern US, and are mostly in the Delaware Valley.

As for coolness, I haven't noticed that they have gotten any cooler in the last few years, but they were always popular when I was growing up, mainly because anytime of the day or night you could order a hoagie (or a meatball sub, or whatever) to your exact specs. It's even easier now that they have touchscreen ordering. Also, they continually make about 20 different kinds of fresh coffee.
posted by amro at 9:56 AM on November 26, 2007

I frequent a 7-11 in my neighborhood and a Wawa near my work. I know the employees in the 7-11 better, but if I had to pick one of the two stores to patronize for the rest of my life, I'd choose Wawa.

I think a lot of it has to do with Wawa being a regional brand, more of the hometown team rahrah-ness.

And I do think their coffee is better than 7-11's.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 10:00 AM on November 26, 2007

Because it kicks ass.

Wawa is so far beyond 7-11 or Sheets it's not even funny. They know their customers -- who want good food/coffee, in and out quickly. Thus they have: Fresh made hoagies -- and pretty good ones at that, with a new-fangled computerized ordering system that saves time. Killer coffee stations -- usually at least 10 pots going, and tons of fresh milk/half-half/cream, non-dairy creamer, various flavorings and sweeteners. Good coffee. Tons of snacks -- tastycakes, etc.

Perfect stop for breakfast or lunch when you're on the go.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 10:02 AM on November 26, 2007

I didn't know WaWa was cool. I frequent them because, unlike 7/11, it doesn't smell like insecticide and cleaning products when you open the door, and the people who work there are usually always friendly, and act like they like working there. WaWa stores usually look fresh and well-stocked and well-lit. Every 7/11 I've ever been in smells horrible and looks run down and half-empty, so WaWa wins by default.

I also like that WaWa gives their employees some pretty cool things to wear, and whenever they have promos, the employees get cool t-shirts which always end up on eBay.
posted by iconomy at 10:04 AM on November 26, 2007

So your WaWa is this, not this? Aha. I am now a thoroughly disambiguated Canadian.

We don't seem to have any kind of well-loved convenience stores or depanneurs up here, no matter how regional or nifty. Maybe Delaware valley people are just more loving, or, as others have said above, this really is a kickass chain of stores.
posted by maudlin at 10:08 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's the egg nog, baby.

That, or a combination of local branding, convenience, and being directly supplied by their own dairy.
posted by zamboni at 10:09 AM on November 26, 2007

Whoa there Ike!

WaWa is superior to ampm or 7-11 in all ways, but making such a bold statement about Sheetz is well, a little _too_ bold. I consider them somewhat similar except for WaWa's complete lack of a beer cave. In all, WaWa is a solid store because of its hours, its selection, and its MTO (made-to-order) action. In this way, both it _and_ Sheetz rock my world.

Come on now, Shmuffins . . . does it get any better?
posted by milqman at 10:10 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Good quality stuff, good service, and home town pride.
posted by SansPoint at 10:12 AM on November 26, 2007

Because of Vinny!
posted by mccxxiii at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2007

milqman -- I forgot about the beer caves at Sheetz (I also forgot how to spell "Sheetz"). I'll give you that ... +1 for Sheetz on beer.

But I don't like the food much at Sheetz, and there is not much in the way of options for vegetarians (but you can get a killer cheese hoag at Wawa).
posted by Ike_Arumba at 10:15 AM on November 26, 2007

nthing derogatory comments above about 7-11.

Interestingly, the 7-11s in Wawa-land are the only ones I've seen that are that dingy and horrible. It's like they're just giving in to the inevitability of Wawa dominance, and putting only the bare minimum of effort into keeping their stores open. Other 7-11s I've seen around the country are not nearly as bad. Although they are also not nearly as awesome as Wawa.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:18 AM on November 26, 2007

Wawa... oh how I love thee!

The ability to walk into a store (most of them being a 24hr operation) and get a hoagie made to order on good italian bread is amazing! The "super" wawas have gas stations! Getting a hoagie from wawa is better than any fast food you could order. Plus they have great Lemonade iced tea.

Since I no longer live near any wawas it is exciting for me to come to one. I just found out that you can not get a salad made to order!
posted by remthewanderer at 10:21 AM on November 26, 2007

I submit that the name Wawa is a large part of the affection. I liked Wawa long before I had ever been there just because I liked to hear my friends say "Wawa" in anecdotes where I would have to stumble through saying "Cumberland Farms".
posted by dirtdirt at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2007

I'd never heard of Wawa before this post.. but in response to dirtdirt, it usually suffices to say "Cumby's". Which has just as much appeal as Wawa.
(I have a feeling that if they had Wawa anywhere near Boston, at least some folks would insist on calling it "Wawa's")
posted by jozxyqk at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2007

Really good cold cut hoagies-- better than Subway-- 24 hours a day. What's not to love?

I wish there was a Wawa near me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:38 AM on November 26, 2007

Yes to all of the above. It's clean, the food is good and it's served fast by (apparently) happy employees. The coffee is kick-ass and for $1 and change beats Star$$.

They're open 24 hours, and oh, their gas is about 10 -15 cents cheaper than anywhere else in Northern Virginia.
posted by worker_bee at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2007

Being able to go into a WaWa in Northern PA at 4am after driving home from Toronto Canada, order an INSANE sub just the way I want it with turkey and bacon and pesto and mayo and salt and pepper without having to talk to a person because I'm exhausted and my co-driver is exhausted and we just want to go home but we have another 5 hours to go and need food?

And get soda, coffee, chocolate and gas for the car -and- go to the bathroom AND the ATM's don't charge a fee all in one visit?

Yeah, WaWa fricking rules.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:44 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

I miss Wawa like I never though I could miss anything with touchscreen ordering. I think the hoagie factor is what does it; you can't get a proper hoagie on the west coast at all, let alone at a convenience store at crazy hours. And: pretzels!
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:46 AM on November 26, 2007

Also, I used to confuse Wawa and Mahwah, as in

They closed down the auto plant in Wawa late that month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none

which gives me a warm feeling every time I think of it.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:48 AM on November 26, 2007

Are they not selling the hoodies anymore?
posted by yoga at 10:50 AM on November 26, 2007

I think a lot of it has to do with Wawa being a regional brand, more of the hometown team rahrah-ness.

I think that's a big part of it. Wawa is a cultural institution in my hometown, but is unheard of where I went to school. Coming home means going to Wawa.

Also, I have to add that the new ciabatta melt is quite a highly evolved sandwich. It's got the feel of a hoagie, but the lettuce and tomato and onions and such don't fall out of the bread the way they tend to with the standard hoagie.

Also if you work there you learn that they have all kinds of ridiculous names for common tools. The best is the glove you're supposed to put on when you're cutting a bagel - it's known as a "whizard glove." They may have spelt it "whyzyrd," actually.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2007

The deli is delicious, and the cigarettes are cheaper than anywhere else (at least here in MD).
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2007

All of you giving the Wa ultimate props for its hoagies are dead wrong. It's the 24-hour cheese steaks that make it truly great (albeit only at certain locations). My love of the Wa was born and nourished in my college years. When 3 AM rolls around and you're only halfway done with that paper, it's time to head for Wawa to get a hot cheese steak, just the way you like it, with the sweet peppers, mushrooms, provolone and spicy mustard. Cheap smokes and good coffee round out the experience, and provide strength for typing into the dawn.

Age doth wither my need for latenight cheese steak and coffee, and I've since quit smoking, but there's a soft spot in my heart for Wawa. Also, the name is just freakin' mellifluous.
posted by mumkin at 11:55 AM on November 26, 2007

How about the soft pretzels at the register, which when sliced buttered and grilled make for about the damned tastiest alternative sandwich roll known to man?

ATM access without a fee doesn't hurt either.
posted by peacecorn at 12:01 PM on November 26, 2007

For me it's the deli, and those stuffed cream cheese pretzels, and you can get a hot pork roll and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Plus, their store-brand stuff is usually pretty good. I live in MN now (grew up in NJ) and the convenience stores here are just not as good. They don't have delis, and while they do have breakfast sandwiches in the morning they are usually of hockey-puck consistency.

So yea. Now I want a pretzel and some pork roll.
posted by cabingirl at 12:23 PM on November 26, 2007


1. They were the first convenience store to offer healthy stuff to eat (i.e. fruit) while you are traveling, so when you arrive at you destination, you don't have that greasy/nasty "I just ate a bag of chips and a box of Gobstoppers" feeling.

2. They offer real horseradish on their sandwiches. Some even allow you to put shredded horseradish and horseradish sauce on the same sandwich.

3. They have the most amazing hand dryers in the restroom. Seriously. Those things make your hands look like they are in some early-space age g-force experiment.
posted by 4ster at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2007

Wawa, how I miss thee...Meatball sandwich at 4 a.m. coming off a drunk? And what everybody else said.
posted by sarelicar at 12:49 PM on November 26, 2007

7-11 hate? Boo. Slurpees and hot dogs make my life complete. Wawa can suck it. Their mashed potatoes suck.
posted by sperose at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2007

I was more than happy to move out of NJ...don't miss a thing about it other than the WaWa...oh wait and the "they pump your gas for you thing"...hated not being able to pump my own gas but wow it grows on you....just like the WaWa.

I should also note I did not in any way grow up in NJ so it has no nostalgic pleasure for me. It's just clean, friendly, and usually tasty with a good selection (even of healthy food!)
posted by UMDirector at 1:22 PM on November 26, 2007

Even though I eat them much, much more rarely than I did, I do enjoy a good old WaWa Hogie. It is great to be able to get sandwich made to order at any time of the day or night...
posted by ob at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2007

I travel a lot and am from New Jersey. I can remember a time before there was WaWa - before its incredible spread, that is - and it was a lot harder to count on the following things:

-well lit
-always clean
-have public bathrooms
-bathrooms usually clean
-fountain drinks
-road-food options that are not totally unhealthy crap (whole wheat rolls, freshly sliced sandwich meats
-24 hour gas station and food sales

WaWa does all these things well. They deserve their success.
posted by Miko at 1:54 PM on November 26, 2007

Paging furiousxgeorge...

Wawa provides food slightly above fast-food level at even better prices that never makes me sick. Sandwiches are reliably made. Lines move quickly. Coffee is cheap and decent. They take credit cards. Cheap cigs. Open all night. EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, like a warm beacon welcoming lonely wanders back from the god awful crappy corner delis of NYC.

Oh, Wawa, how I love thee.

Now I'm hungry.
posted by bunnycup at 7:10 PM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Um...isn't it obvious:

They do it just a little bit better.
posted by Mr. Ugh at 1:43 PM on November 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

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