Wawa is a convenience store and gas station with locations all over the U.S. Its reputation for reliable service, great food, and excellent employee culture has made it one of the most beloved chains in America. Because of its widespread success, many investors are looking to add Wawa stock to their portfolios.
Wawa shops are steadily springing up all around the country with no sign of stopping.
It’s no surprise given the strong track record of success and excellent leadership — along with its wide array of products and services.
This is why so many investors have their eye on Wawa, looking to cash in on the expansion of this fantastic company.
But can you buy Wawa stock?
Keep reading to find out more about the company, whether you can buy Wawa stock as well as some competitors that might be worth investing in.
What Is Wawa?
Wawa is a chain of convenience stores that first opened in 1964.
The company is based out of Pennsylvania and has since grown to 900+ locations.
Nearly all Wawa locations are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and its stores offer a large selection of highly sought-after food and beverages.
In fact, Wawa has built a solid reputation for its fresh coffee and made-to-order sandwiches (and hoagies).
But what about Wawa’s early days?
Keep reading to find out.
Wawa Early Days
Wawa wasn’t always a chain of gas stations.
Surprisingly, the company had nothing to do with gasoline when it started.
Wawa was originally a dairy farm in New Jersey called the Wawa Dairy Farm.
The company that we know and love wouldn’t come into the picture until almost a century later.
In 1890, George Wood moved to Pennsylvania to start a farm centered around dairy products.
But when did Wawa transition its company model?
The First Wawa Food Market
In 1964, Grahame Wood opened the first Wawa Food Market in Folsom, PA, and it remained open until 2016.
This was the first entry into the convenience store market for the company.
At the time, convenience stores were becoming popular, so naturally, it didn’t take long for Wawa to see massive success.
Today, there are 900 locations with over 31,000 employees.
Given its history of explosive growth, we’ll likely see this number rise in the future.
Wawa Is One the Most Popular Convenience Store Chains
Wawa has spread from Pennsylvania to the North and South of the U.S. east coast.
The convenience store chain currently has stores in the following states:
- New Jersey
- Washington, D.C.
While the chain has locations on only one side of the country, it sees similar success to national competitors, like 7-Eleven.
Last year, Wawa’s revenue was $13 billion.
With new Wawa stores planned to roll out in the future, the company’s generation of funds will likely only continue to grow.
Some Small Controversies
Just because Wawa is so popular, it doesn’t mean that everyone loves it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has run articles on their website recently that show some residents of the town don’t want another Wawa.
Does this affect the company’s worth?
It really depends on whether or not it catches on elsewhere.
For now, though, Philadelphia seems to have had enough.
Can You Buy Wawa Stock?
At this time, Wawa stock cannot be purchased.
Wawa is a private company and plans on remaining privately held for the foreseeable future.
Until an initial public offering (IPO) is announced, Wawa stock won’t be publicly traded, and you can’t buy shares.
However, Wawa stock is available for some people, mainly its employees.
Wawa’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan
Wawa associates are able to take advantage of the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
The employee stock ownership plan promotes sharing ownership of Wawa throughout the company.
At this time, over 9,000 employees hold stock for the company.
All eligible workers have a percentage of their earnings contributed to ESOP.
Before ESOP was available, the company shared earnings with associates through a profit-sharing plan.
As you can see, the dedication to employees has been consistent throughout the company’s history.
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Who Owns Wawa?
Until very recently, Wawa was owned by its founding family, the Wood family.
However, at this time, the company is owned by Wild Goose Holdings at 60%.
The other 40% is held by Wawa employees through ESOP.
It’s important to note, though, that the Wood family is still very active in the business.
Can You Buy Wawa Stock: Wawa Stock Symbol
Because Wawa is not a publicly-traded company, there is no stock symbol at this time.
And until Wawa is traded publicly, no stock symbol will be assigned to it.
Why Is Wawa Successful?
Wawa is successful for a number of reasons.
For one, Wawa’s company and employee cultures are grounded in the core company values of caring, honesty, openness, and responsibility.
This keeps both employees and customers satisfied.
Read on to learn more about how Wawa has earned its success.
Success Through Employees
Wawa offers support to its employees in many ways.
The company is committed to making sure that its work culture is conducive to success — not just for the company, but for the individual.
- Associates are offered stock through ESOP, promoting sharing ownership
- Employees are offered benefits for health, vision, dental, and retirement
- A college education is promoted through their scholarship program
- The ownership structure is based around servant leadership
- Paid time off is accrued by employees
Success Through Customers
Customers are what generate cash flow for a business.
As such, Wawa goes out of its way to keep its customers happy.
Some of the more recent programs offered to customers are listed below.
- Free Coffee Tuesday for rewards members in May
- Surcharge-free ATMs for all customers
- Seating in each convenience store location
- Customizable food and drinks through touch screen stations
- A market of fresh foods in some stores
Wawa is one of few companies that go out of its way to keep everyone happy.
This company is committed to providing associates and customers with perks that they can’t get anywhere else.
Should You Buy Wawa if It Goes Public?
If Wawa becomes publicly traded, it might be a good idea to pick up some shares.
The company has seen ongoing success and expansion for the past few years, and they show no signs of slowing down.
It’s also important to mention that if you want to own something that the Motley Fool owns shares of, Wawa is high on their list.
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Wawa Competitors to Invest In
If you’re looking for a company with similar growth or value to Wawa, take a look at some of their competitors below.
Keep in mind, however, that the majority of gas stations with cult-like followings are privately owned.
This is because they grow their fanbase steadily over time with stores with a more tailored feel.
Casey’s General Stores (NASDAQ: CASY)
Casey’s General Stores is a convenience store chain similar to Wawa.
The company is located in the Midwest.
Right now, it’s a particularly hot stock, as it’s one of the stocks mentioned from time to time by The Motley Fool.
There is some speculation to that, though: some believe that Casey’s stock is popular because it is one of the only convenience store stocks available.
Whatever the case may be, the stores do well, and the company benefits from being one of the only of its kind available to investors.
Casey’s stock has seen gradual growth over the last 5 years, which is probably one of the reasons that the Motley Fool recommends it.
It hasn’t had a major fall since the beginning of the pandemic.
The company’s made $9.175 billion in 2020.
Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPS)
If you want to buy shares of gas station stocks, then you may want to consider buying shares from a refinery instead.
Marathon Petroleum is responsible for refining, marketing, and transporting fuel all over the country.
As such, they are a big business, and they may be worth investing in.
Marathon isn’t just a chain of stores, as it also provides gasoline and fuel for other chains.
In 2020, Marathon saw $20 billion in revenue.
At the start of the pandemic, its stock price fell considerably, but since then, it has been building back up to what it was.
Fortunately, this rate of growth doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
If you want a stock that will grow in value over time as you hold it, consider Marathon.
Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES)
Going a step further into the energy industry, you have Hess.
The Hess Corporation may be best known for their Hess stations, and of course the always awaited Hess Trucks.
These holiday specials are offered every year and have been avidly collected by many for decades.
Apart from that, Hess is so much more.
The company is focused on crude oil and natural gas.
And like Marathon, it’s responsible for supplying the product sold at its stations.
Hess offers an opportunity in portfolio diversity.
While Hess is known for its gas stations, it’s more an energy company than anything else.
This is what sets it apart from Wawa and Casey’s.
The company itself, however, is smaller than Marathon when you look at the numbers.
In 2020, Hess made $6.4 billion in income.
Wawa Stock: Final Thoughts
Wawa is one of the most popular chains for anyone looking for fast, reliable service.
What started as a dairy farm that offered home delivery has become a popular pit stop.
While Wawa is a gas station, it’s also a place to grab a bite to eat or a coffee.
The company is also a great place to be an employee, thanks to its many programs and promotions.
If Wawa ever schedules an IPO, you can be sure that the stock price will be high.
For now, though, if you have your heart set on owning Wawa stock, you’ll have to become an employee.
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