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Wawa marks expansion into central Pennsylvania with groundbreaking

President Biden stops at Sheetz to pickup sandwiches for construction workers
President Biden stops at Sheetz to pickup sandwiches for construction workers 00:14

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) -- Wawa is officially in central Pennsylvania. 

The gas station/convenience store broke ground Wednesday at an intersection in Middletown, Dauphin County -- right near a Sheetz location.

Wawa leaders said the groundbreaking marks the beginning of an expansion in central Pennsylvania. In the next five years, the company plans on opening 40 stores in the area, which it expects to create 1,400 jobs. 

Eastern Pennsylvania-based Wawa already has nearly 1,000 locations across the East Coast, though the western half of the state has traditionally been the territory of Altoona-based Sheetz. The Wawa-Sheetz rivalry divides the state, and both family-owned gas station convenience store chains have dedicated fans.

Grateful for 60 years in PA. Today marks a new chapter as we stretch our wings west to Central PA. Big thanks to local...

Posted by Wawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2024

"It's official – Wawa is spreading our wings to reach Central Pennsylvania, and we couldn't be more thrilled to share details of our exciting growth plans with our newest soon-to-be neighbors!" said Wawa president Brian Schaller in a news release. 

"Our Community Day and groundbreaking events gave us the opportunity to meet new faces and share a little bit about our history and what makes Wawa such an ideal fit for communities here. We are thrilled to break ground on our first store in the region, launch our expansion plans and get closer to our first grand openings in 2024."   

When President Joe Biden was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, he stopped by Sheetz to pick up sandwiches to give to construction workers at the Pittsburgh International Airport's terminal project. Sheetz used it as a PR opportunity, saying in a statement, "Everyone loves a good Sheetz Run, even the President of the United States." But Biden played it neutral, stopping at Wawa when he visited Philadelphia on Thursday.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Gov. Josh Shapiro chose Wawa in Bucks County as his location for a pit stop, wishing the company a happy 60th anniversary in a social media post.

Even celebrities have weighed in. During Post Malone's concert at Star Lake last summer, he sported a Wawa shirt, prompting a little Photoshop job from Sheetz. 

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