It was a big party at National Constitution center as Wawa celebrated its 50th birthday. In the 19th century George Wood and his family started a processing plant making dairy products in Wawa, Pennsylvania. Then in 1964 the family opened its very first Wawa store in Folsom. Former governor Ed Rendell worked closely with former Wawa chairman Richard Wood. "He made Wawa an incredible citizen for the City of Philadelphia there is no better corporate citizen and when I say Philadelphia I'm talking about the whole region," said Rendell. To mark the celebration the company gave away free coffee all day Wednesday. "I give it thumbs up," said one customer. "It's my third trip and not just for the free coffee I'm here once or twice a day at least," said another customer. Wawa also announced the return of the 'Rendelli hoagie' in honor of former governor Rendell. They also introduced a new hoagie, 'The Nutter Classic,' of course named for Mayor Nutter "I tasted the sandwich and it's actually pretty good which is what I expect from Wawa," said Mayor Nutter. However, perhaps the biggest announcement of the night, for its 50th anniversary, Wawa plans to give $50 million back to the community over the next five years through a new initiative called the Wawa Foundation. Wawa kicked off its donations by presenting $50,000 to each of its top charity partners. "It's a true testament of wonderful people doing wonderful work in the community. That's why we have been able to last 50 years," said Chris Gheysens, Wawa president and CEO.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - April 16, 2014 --Wawa convenience stores are celebrating the company's 50th anniversary with some big gifts.