The store, which occupies the former Burns Auto lot in the 1000 block of the White Horse Pike, adds fueling stations, new jobs, and the crew from the former Oaklyn Wawa up the road.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 27, 2023
In 1967, just three years after welcoming customers to their first store in Folsom, Pennsylvania, the Wood family introduced New Jersey to its first Wawa in the city of Vineland.
Thirty-five miles away and 56 years later, the company celebrated its 1,000th store opening in Oaklyn.
In the time since, what was begun as a Cumberland County dairy market has evolved into an institution synonymous with the regional culture of the South Jersey/Philadelphia metro area.
Its popularity derives from fusing corner store staples, like a fresh-prep deli counter and its celebrated coffee program, with rest-stop amenities, including fueling stations, a fee-free ATM, and extended or overnight hours.
The facility at 1006 White Horse Pike in Oaklyn (formerly Burns Auto) has new construction and a familiar crew.
Its 55-person staff includes 30 associates from the soon-to-shutter Wawa two blocks away, at 800 White Horse Pike, plus 25 new hires, including 15 employees to work its fuel pumps.
Thursday morning’s event had all the atmosphere of a playoff tailgate party, with the Philadelphia Eagles pep band, cheerleaders, and mascot, Swoop, on-hand to celebrate.
At 8 a.m., the banner covering the “1,000th Store” signage on the building ediface dropped to fanfare from the crowd, as the line of customers that had wrapped itself around the building plowed into the store. Free coffee was on offer all day, and the first 1,000 guests also helped themselves to commemorative tee shirts.
View this post on Instagram
To celebrate the milestone, Wawa also distributed $1 million in gift cards to its seven national charity agencies —
American Red Cross, Check Out Hunger, Children’s Miracle Network, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Special Olympics, and USO — plus local partners, including Meals on Wheels, the Community Food Bank of South Jersey, and the Eagles Autism Foundation.
The gift cards are part of $136 million donated by the company since 2014 in the areas of “health, hunger, and everyday heroes,” Wawa Foundation President Liz Simeone said.
Wawa has shown itself to be long-lived in the communities in which it operates, a fact underscored not only by its corporate philanthropy, but also by the tenures of its associates. Jennifer Low, who will manage the new Oaklyn location, is in her 19th year with Wawa, having been hired on at 16.
“There’s never a lack of opportunity and growth,” said area manager Keith Schaeffer, a Wawa employee of 16 years, or 600 stores ago.
For as gloriously feted as the 1,000th Wawa opening was, it’s only one of 15 projected to open throughout New Jersey by year’s end.
But of all the Wawas operating in six U.S. states, Oaklyn Mayor Greg Brandley said he was pleased at the opportunity for the corporation to hit its milestone in the borough.
“Wawa’s thousandth store for little Oaklyn,” Brandley said. “It’s fantastic.”
Please support NJ Pen with a subscription. Get e-mails, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.