13 Fun Facts About Wawa

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In 2015, a study confirmed what many convenience store shoppers already knew: Wawa is the best. Seven thousand consumers, polled by Market Force, gave Wawa a "composite loyalty score" of 68 percent, ahead of other stores like QuikTrip (62 percent) and Sheetz (59 percent), and it also nabbed the top spot in the fresh food category. In celebration of Wawa Day, here are some things you might not have known about the absolute best place on earth to buy a hoagie, iced tea, and Tastykakes.

1. IT WAS FOUNDED MORE THAN 200 YEARS AGO, AS AN IRON FACTORY.

Though the first Wawa store was opened in 1964, the company actually has more than 200 years of history: It began in 1803 as a New Jersey iron factory and was incorporated in 1865 as the Millville Manufacturing Company. Then, in 1902, Millville's owner George Wood opened up a milk processing plant in Wawa, Pennsylvania. (The cows for the plant came from the English Channel island of Guernsey.)

2. "DOCTOR CERTIFIED" MILK WAS A KEY TO ITS EARLY SUCCESS.

In the early 1900s, many children were becoming sick from drinking raw milk, so Wood had doctors vouch for his product. The "doctor certified" milk, delivered directly to a customer's home, made the business a huge success.

3. THE VERY FIRST WAWA STORE IS STILL OPEN.

As the milk delivery business dwindled in the 1960s, Wood's grandson, Grahame, noticed that customers were shopping more at supermarkets, and thought Wawa could distribute its products that way. The first Wawa Food Market opened at 1212 MacDade Boulevard in Folsom, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1964—and it's still there!


Photo courtesy of Wawa

4. BEING ALLOWED TO REMAIN OPEN ON SUNDAYS HELPED BUSINESS BOOM.

The stores were successful in part because convenience stores were exempt from laws that kept other stores closed on Sundays.

5. BUSINESS GREW QUICKLY.

By 1972, there were 100 Wawa stores open for business. By 1992, there were 500 stores. Today, there are more than 750 Wawa stores.

6. IT'S AN OJIBWE WORD.

Wawa is Ojibwe for Canada Goose.

7. YOU MIGHT NOT BE PRONOUNCING IT CORRECTLY.

Want to pronounce "Wawa" correctly? It rhymes with Saw Saw, according to locals.

8. THEY SELL A LOT OF HOAGIES.

Wawa's stores—located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida—sell more than 60 million made-to-order hoagies annually.

9. COFFEE IS HOT, TOO.

Wawa sells enough coffee—195 million cups—to fill Shamu's tank more than 11 times. That signature coffee, introduced in the 1970s, is proprietary, and available only in Wawa stores.

10. THERE'S A WAWA UNIVERSITY.

Some Wawa employees attend Wawa University, which, according to the company, "will guide you with comprehensive training courses and continuing educational programs. On-site, off-site. On the job, in the virtual and traditional classroom. The goal is always to meet your evolving training and education needs. From Brand Fundamentals to Leadership Development to Career Enhancement, you'll have the chance to strengthen your career potential and achieve your goals."

11. THEIR SLOGAN HAS CHANGED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

These days, Wawa's slogan is "Gottahava Wawa," but past slogans include "Mama I Luv Wawa," "People on the Go, Go to Wawa," "My Choice, My Wawa," and "We Do it Better." 


Image courtesy of Wawa

 

12. PEOPLE LOVE THEIR WAWA.

People love their Wawa. In 2009, five West Chester women completed a two-year quest to visit every Wawa then in existence. The New York Times Magazine asked if the chain was a "Convenience Cult." And Jackass star Johnny Knoxville has a Wawa tattoo, which he got thanks to "whiskey and adrenaline."

13. WAWA, PENNSYLVANIA IS LOCATED IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE.

Half of the town of Wawa, Pennsylvania is in Middletown, and half of it is in Chester Heights, the official location of the company's headquarters. According to a 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Estimates of those who do live in Wawa range from about five families ... to 265 families. ... 'No one's ever drawn a line on a map saying this is where Wawa begins and ends,' explained W. Bruce Clark, Middletown's manager."

8 Delicious Facts About Guacamole

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Grab a cerveza, tear open a new bag of chips, and kick back with these facts about your favorite bright green zesty spread—in honor of National Guacamole Day.

1. AVOCADOS GO BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS.

The avocado, first known as the ahuacate, has been cultivated and eaten in Mexico, Central America, and South America as far back as 500 BCE.

2. THE AZTECS INVENTED GUACAMOLE.

When the Spaniards arrived in the New World, they discovered an Aztec sauce called ahuaca-molli; molli was the Nahautl word for “something mashed or pureed,” while ahuactl referred to testicles, or the stone fruit that reminded them of testicles.

3. AVOCADOS HAVE BEEN REBRANDED.

In the early 20th century, our favorite mashable fruit went by the unappealing name “alligator pear,” due to its bumpy green skin. The California Avocado Growers’ Exchange, a trade group, complained in a 1927 statement “That the avocado … should be called an alligator pear is beyond all understanding.” Alligator pear disappeared, and the fruit was called everything from calavo to butter pear to avocado pear before avocado finally stuck.

4. THE AVOCADO HAS FAMOUS RELATIVES.

The avocado trade group also bemoaned the more quotidian foods associated with the avocado, “an exalted member of the laurel family.” Indeed, the avocado is a member of the lauracae family, which also includes bay leaves, cinnamon, camphor, and sassafras.

5. A MAILMAN PATENTED THE MOST POPULAR AVOCADO VARIETY.

There are more than 400 varieties of avocado grown around the world, but the Hass, grown mostly in Mexico and California, is the most popular. A postal worker named Rudolph Hass purchased the seedling from a farmer in 1926 and filed a patent in 1935. The original tree stood, and bore fruit, for nearly 70 years in La Habra Heights, California.

6. CALIFORNIA DOMINATES U.S. AVOCADO PRODUCTION.

The western state accounts for nearly 90 percent of all avocados grown in the United States, with the bulk of farms centered in a five-county region of southern California.

7. MEXICAN AVOCADOS WERE ONCE BANNED IN THE U.S.

Beginning in 1914, Hass avocados were not allowed to be imported to the United States from Mexico. After a two-year debate, the USDA lifted the ban in 1997—although approved farms were only allowed to export their crops to 19 U.S. states and were still forbidden from selling in California. In 2002, the U.S. Federal Hass Avocado Promotion, Research, and Information Order was established, and today Mexican avocados are allowed in all 50 states.

8. THE BIGGEST GUACAMOLE SERVING EVER WEIGHED AS MUCH AS SOME ELEPHANTS.

A Guinness World Record was set in 2013 when a group of 450 students in Tancitaro, Michoacan, Mexico prepared a serving of guacamole that weighed 5,885.24 pounds, or almost 3 tons. Asian elephants can weigh anywhere from 2.25-5.5 tons.

This article was originally published in 2016.

10 Fun Facts About Play-Doh

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As any Play-Doh aficionado knows, September 16th is National Play-Doh Day! Let's pay tribute to your favorite modeling clay with some fun facts about the childhood play staple that began life as a cleaning product.

1. IT WAS FIRST SOLD AS WALLPAPER CLEANER.

Before kids were playing with Play-Doh, their parents were using it to remove soot and dirt from their wall coverings by simply rolling the wad of goop across the surface.

2. IF IT WEREN'T FOR CAPTAIN KANGAROO, PLAY-DOH MIGHT NEVER HAVE TAKEN OFF.

When it was just a fledgling company with no advertising budget, inventor Joe McVicker talked his way in to visit Bob Keeshan, a.k.a Captain Kangaroo. Although the company couldn’t pay the show outright, McVicker offered them two percent of Play-Doh sales for featuring the product once a week. Keeshan loved the compound and began featuring it three times weekly.

3. MORE THAN 3 BILLION CANS OF PLAY-DOH HAVE BEEN SOLD.

Since 1956, more than 3 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold. That’s enough to reach the Moon and back a total of three times. (Not bad for a wallpaper cleaner.)

4. IT USED TO COME IN JUST ONE COLOR.

Photo of child's hands playing with Play-Doh clay
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Back when it was still a household product, Play-Doh came in just one dud of a color: off-white. When it hit stores as a toy in the 1950s, red, blue, and yellow were added. These days, Play-Doh comes in nearly every color of the rainbow—more than 50 in total—but a consumer poll revealed that fans' favorite colors are Rose Red, Purple Paradise, Garden Green, and Blue Lagoon.

5. FOR QUITE SOME TIME, DR. TIEN LIU HAD A JOB SKILL NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD COULD CLAIM: PLAY-DOH EXPERT.

Dr. Tien Liu helped perfect the Play-Doh formula for the original company, Rainbow Crafts, and stayed on as a Play-Doh Expert when the modeling compound was purchased by Kenner and then Hasbro.

6. YOU CAN SMELL LIKE PLAY-DOH.

Want to smell like Play-Doh? You can! To commemorate the compound’s 50th anniversary, Demeter Fragrance Library worked with Hasbro to make a Play-Doh fragrance, which was developed for “highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.”

7. HASBRO TRADEMARKED THE SCENT.

Anyone who has ever popped open a fresh can of Play-Doh knows that there’s something extremely distinctive about the smell. It’s so distinctive that, in early 2017, Hasbro filed for federal protection in order to trademark the scent, which the company describes as “a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.”

8. IT CAN CREATE A PRETTY ACCURATE FINGERPRINT.

When biometric scanners were a bit more primitive, people discovered that you could make a mold of a person’s finger, then squish Play-Doh in the mold to make a replica of the finger that would actually fool fingerprint scanners. Back in 2005, it was estimated that Play-Doh could actually fool 90 percent of all fingerprint scanners. But technology has advanced a lot since then, so don’t go getting any funny ideas. Today's more sophisticated systems aren’t so easily tricked by the doughy stuff.

9. IT HOLDS A PLACE IN THE NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME.

Unsurprisingly, Play-Doh holds a coveted place in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. It was inducted in 1998. According to the Hall of Fame, “recent estimates say that kids have played with 700 million pounds of Play-Doh."

10. YOU CAN TURN YOUR PLAY-DOH CREATIONS INTO ANIMATED CHARACTERS.

While Play-Doh may be a classic toy, it got a state-of-the-art upgrade in 2016, when Hasbro launched Touch Shape to Life Studio, an app that lets kids turn their Play-Doh creations into animated characters.

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