JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two of convenience store/gas station Wawa's first locations in Northeast Florida will officially open on Wednesday.
The Jacksonville location at 6787 Wilson Boulevard and the Orange Park location at 678 Blanding Boulevard will each have their grand opening ceremonies on Wednesday.
The grand opening celebration at the Wilson Boulevard location will kick off with a ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. and the ribbon cutting for the Blanding Boulevard location will take place at 1 p.m.
Both locations will open their doors at 8 a.m. and both locations will serve free coffee for 10 days.
Festivities will include hoagie-building contests to benefit local charities and remarks by Wawa officials.
According to Wawa's website, other store openings on the horizon include 4866 Gate Parkway in
Jacksonville, near the St. Johns Town Center, in fall 2017 and 11812 Beach Boulevard in
Jacksonville, near Central Parkway, in winter 2018.
About Wawa: What is it? What do they serve? How many stores will open?
Pennsylvania-based Wawa is known for serving hoagies, freshly brewed coffee and soups, sides and snacks. Customers can customize their orders at touch-screen kiosks in the store and then pick up their meal or drink from the counter. Ready-made food is also available in Wawa stores.
Wawa plans to eventually open 25 to 35 stores in the greater Jacksonville area, Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said in June 2016.
Those stores will bring 1,000 jobs to the area, Gheysens said.
"They're not just entry-level jobs. They are roles we've seen people, with our growth, get promotions, go into managerial positions and, also at Wawa, you're an owner," Gheysens said.
Each store costs roughly $5 million to $6 million, Gheysens said, and the 25 to 35 planned stores represent roughly a $150 million investment in the Jacksonville area.
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