GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Employees opened the doors of the new Wawa at the corner of Pomona Road and the White Horse Pike here 8 a.m. Friday to a line of people.
“They came as early as 7:30,” said Mike Copozzi, general manager. “There was a line of 18 or 20 people out there.”
The location features a 12-pump gas station and 4,691 square feet of retail space, along with new in-store graphics and colors, restroom design and merchandising elements, according to Wawa public relations representative Alyson Mucha.
“You walk in through the front doors and see our focus on food,” she said.
Like many other customers, Joe Marchese of Galloway came for the coffee. He normally goes to the Pitney Road Wawa, which is closer to his home.
“You’ll never have too many Wawas,” he said.
Marchese and his wife, Linda, each picked up a free cup of coffee. In celebration of the opening, the store is offering customers a free cup of coffee through May 14.
“We got the gas card, so we came to save the 5 cents,” he said.
People who have a Wawa credit card get 5 cents off each gallon of gas they charge to their card.
The location carries the convenience store chain's typical selection: cigarettes, food staples, candy, snacks, bananas, dairy products, soft drinks, coffee, energy bars, deli items and prepared meals.
“I’m lovin’ it,” said Rene Widecrantz of Port Republic as she prepared to pour a cup of coffee, borrowing a slogan from a fast food store commercial. “Wait, that might be McDonald’s.”
Widecrantz said she lives 3 miles from the Wawa on Route 9, 4 miles from the Pitney Road store and 5 miles from the Pomona Road store.
“Free coffee for 10 days,” she said. “How can you beat it?”
The Pomona Road location is the 10th new store the chain has opened in 2017 and the first this year to open in New Jersey.
Wawa plans to open of 55 new stores and remodel 75 in the mid-Atlantic and Florida markets and anticipates adding 2,000 new jobs, according to a press release from Wawa.
The Pomona Wawa was built where Kennedy’s Bar stood for decades. Kennedy’s was destroyed by fire March 21, 2011 and subsequently torn down.
Beth Ann McCourt, who grew up in Galloway, said the Pomona store is similar to the new stores she has seen in Central Florida, where she lives now.
“The store adds something nice to the corner,” she said.
Nichelle Cherry of Galloway, a customer service associate who normally works at the Pleasantville Wawa on Delilah Road, said the Wawa team likes to think of customers as family.
“We try to make the customer feel like they are at home,” she said.
The opening featured a competition between members of the Galloway police and fire departments to see which team could build the most hoagies in three minutes, with Wawa pledging to donate $1,000 to each team.
The police officers came out on top; their donation will go to the Police Unity Team No. 2 that will ride to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness for fallen officers.
The fire company will use the money buy equipment.
Wawa operates more than 730 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. More than 500 sell gasoline.
The Pomona Road Wawa is Galloway's fifth. The stores at Pitney Road and Jimmie Leeds Road, Fifth Avenue and the White Horse Pike, and Tilton Road and the White Horse Pike are also full-service Wawas; the Route 9 location has no gas.