It won't be long before east Hillsborough County has its first Wawa.
Construction is under way on a Wawa Food Market and gas station on the south side of Bloomingdale Avenue, just east of U.S. 301.
The popular Pennsylvania-based convenience store offers fresh, built-to-order sandwiches and salads, soups, hot breakfast sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee along with gas services and ATM machines.
The chain has more than 595 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and, most recently, Florida.
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There are now six Wawa stores in Orlando and Kissimmee. The company also is building stores in Pinellas Park, New Port Richey, Port Richey and on Fowler Avenue in Tampa. In all, the chain plans to build 100 stores between Orlando and Tampa in the next five years.
Wawa describes its Florida stores as "upscale" and "state-of-the-art," featuring Florida colors and materials, lush landscaping and abundant lighting.
"Wawa" is a Native American word for the Canada Goose that was found in the Delaware Valley.
It's trademark sandwich is the built-to-order hoagie. Wawa sells more than 54 million hoagies annually.
What's a hoagie? It's the Pennsylvania version of a sub. A hoagie is an Italian roll filled with fresh meats and cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, topped with a dash of oregano.
The new Wawa on Bloomingdale will be open 24 hours and will employ 35 associates.
Although the new Bloomingdale Wawa has been approved by the Hillsborough County Commission, store representatives will go before the zoning hearing master Nov. 13 to request a variance to permit the chain to put up its signature sign.
The developer also is required to build a left-turn lane on Bloomingdale Avenue as well as a right-turn lane and sidwalk on the property's right of way.