Wawa celebrates 60th anniversary with free coffee Tuesday | What you need to know

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Wawa celebrates 60th anniversary with free coffee Tuesday
April 16, 2024, marks 60 years since Wawa became a convenience store and made their coveted hot coffee a must-have for so many.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There's nothing like a cup of coffee to start your day, especially when you can get it for free!

Tuesday, April 16, marks 60 years since Wawa became a convenience store and made their coveted hot coffee a must-have for so many.

"Wawa to me is breakfast, lunch and dinner," said Monica Flowers, of West Philadelphia.

"The best food, delicious coffee, affordable and it's everywhere on every corner," added Kylie Ryan, of Center City.

Over the last 60 years, the stores have changed from little dairy and grocery stores to super Wawas and gas stations.

Wawa celebrates 60 years

The company is hosting two celebrations in Philadelphia on Tuesday. It started at 7 a.m. at the 6th and Chestnut store, where there was a ceremonial coffee pour by former NFL star Devon Still.

Free admission is also being offered all day at the nearby National Constitution Center, where an exhibit was unveiled on Wawa through the years to teach young people about business.

"It's going to work forward from 1964, all the way to today," said Brian Schaller, with Wawa. "How the company has changed but how the culture has always stayed the same."

A Wawa 1918 milk truck was also on display, where Still and positive psychologists from Penn talked about the science behind the magic of Wawa.

"We wanted to be able to tell the story about the positivity that goes on in their stores," Still said. "It has a ripple effect outside of their stores."

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Wawa is also giving away 1.5 million cups of coffee in any size.

You may also get a side of nostalgia with your free coffee.

The stores will also use their vintage cups and hoagie paper as a nod to their humble beginnings.

Wawa also recognized some of their regular customers by giving out a million dollars in gift cards to national and local partners.

Tony Stephens, who works as a probation officer, was honored as a "Day Brightener."

"Treat people the way you want to be treated. You never know what someone is going through and your kind act could really make a difference in a person's life," Stephens said.

The history of Wawa

The first Wawa store opened in Folsom, Pennsylvania. That location closed back in 2016 and the flagship moved down the street.

But Wawa actually started as an iron foundry in New Jersey in 1803. In 1892, George Wood, the founder of Wawa Dairy Farms, bought a farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, near a train station named Wawa.

There was a pond nearby where Canada Geese liked to gather and the area took its name from a Native American word meaning "wild goose."

When Wood began the dairy in 1902, he named the business after the region.

As home delivery of milk declined in the early 1960s, George's grandson opened the first Wawa Food Market as an outlet for dairy products. Now, Wawa Incorporated operates a chain of over 1,000 convenience stores in six states, plus Washington D.C. It also has stores as far away as Florida, along with lots of dedicated customers.

"I can remember from my childhood getting sliced meat [and] the coffee," said Paul Auspitz, of Springfield. "I'm glad they're still here."