RIVERVIEW — Wawa, the Pennsylvania-based gas station chain with a fervent following, opened its newest store in Tampa Bay at Bloomingdale Avenue and U.S. 301 on Thursday.
The popular Philadelphia gas and convenience store chain has been opening stores throughout the bay area for the past year.
The new store will employ more than 50 people.
Wawa hosted a hoagie-building competition between the USO Tampa Bay and the Army's 322nd Transportation Battalion, closing by presenting checks to the USO to help fund Military Appreciation Day events for members of the armed forces and their families.
The store will be offering free coffee for 10 days and discounted gas to all customers.
Wawa has earned loyal customers with its deli hoagies, gourmet coffees, fresh-baked goods and groceries in addition to gas and other standard convenience store items.
Restaurant-quality food service and store associates who make a connection with customers set Wawa apart, spokeswoman Lori Bruce said.
The chain serves everything from lobster bisque and frothy cappuccinos to customized hoagies with more than 100 variations.