Wawa: more than a convenience store

Sunday, May 3, 2015

By Joe Andrew

As part of the Student Business Society Speaker Series, Wawa CEO Chris Gheysons presented information about the popular convenience store chain before approximately 75 DCCC students on March 31 at Marple campus.

Gheysons explained what goes into the success of any company, especially Wawa.

Wawa operates in six states and has more than 23,000 associates. Despite being a private business, they are currently the seventh biggest retailer in coffee, Gheysons said.

Gheysons started his PowerPoint presentation by explaining that Wawa started primarily as a dairy business in the 1920’s. It has blossomed throughout the years into the convenience store giant that consumers know today.

He explained that for any business to succeed, strong core values like these must be in place. It is up to everyone in the company to create a friendly atmosphere for customers, he said. Gheysons added that Wawa is “friends and neighbors, serving friends and neighbors.”

Currently the company is working on expanding to Florida because it is a “similar market,” said Gheysons adding, “We become part of our customers’ everyday lives.”

After presenting a brief history of the company and describing its success, Gheysons explained how Wawa creates this unique shopping experience by adhering to strong core values. These values are “value people, delight customers, embrace change, do the right thing, do things right, and have a passion for winning,” according to the Power Point.

Secondly, Gheysons seeks to instill these same values in his associates (or employees) because the average person spends about three minutes in Wawa per trip. Gheysons stressed the importance of making this “the best three minutes of a person’s day.”

Next, Gheysons told students how Wawa also helps build a strong sense of values by doing the right things. For instance, Wawa is a company that realizes that they would be nothing without strong and happy associates. For this reason, they take a lot of measures to make sure a support system is apparent, Gheysons said.

Wawa keeps employees happy by giving duties to their human resources department to help with financial problems as they see fit. Gheysons gave an example of an associate that needed help paying for a wedding, and Wawa helped the person do just that.He also described that only Wawa associates and family of the company’s founders get stock with the company. Not only that, but they give this stock for free.

Finally, Gheysons emphasized that Wawa is an everchanging company and customers should look out for many changes coming in the years to come, including new jobs being created, renovations to legacy stores in the area, new products, like paninis, ordering via mobile app, and more.

“We connect people in a way that’s unique,” Gheysons said. “We’re authentic and we do things for the right reasons. For that, we think we play a large role in making the world a better place and fulfilling lives everyday.”

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