CORRECTION: A previous version of this article spelled senior Emma Puleo's name incorrectly. Elon News Network regrets this error.
For Emma Puleo, an Elon senior from Maryland, Wawa was her life.
“It does have a major impact on my life, because of how much it supported my life,” Puleo said.
Wawa is a major gas station chain that sells food and beverages such as hoagies, club sandwiches, milkshakes and smoothies.The company originated in Pennsylvania and has since expanded all over the East Coast but has bypassed North Carolina, until now.
Wawa announced its expansion into North Carolina on Oct. 25 at the Greenville Convention Center and Casita Brewing Company in Wilson.
Wawa’s statement said, “Wawa’s initial phase of expansion into North Carolina includes plans to open approximately 80 stores across the eastern region of the state over the next 10+ years with the first eight stores opening in 2024.”
In its statement, Wawa said they plan to open up 15 more stores in North Carolina by 2025 and are investing $7 million for each store being opened.
Puleo said this news was really exciting to her since the first thing she does when she goes back home is to visit a Wawa.
“I am a frickin’ Wawa fanatic,” Puleo said. “I will root for Wawa. I will go work for Wawa.”
Puleo said her car runs on diesel and it is often hard to find a diesel pump, but most Wawa gas stations have multiple diesel pumps accessible to people, which Puelo said would definitely be beneficial to her.
Michael Johns, an Elon freshman and Pennsylvania native, would go to Wawa every day after school back home and hang out with his friends while he enjoyed a roast beef club sandwich.
“You get your food and you sit outside. It’s just an amazing experience. It’s convenient and it’s amazing,” Johns said.
Johns said Wawa is all he has been able to talk about since he got here and it is the first thing he is going to do when he gets back home.
Freshman Tanner Jennings is from North Carolina and said having a Wawa here would be amazing, but he doesn’t feel like the rest of the North Carolina population feels the same.
“People like the businesses that are already here,” Jennings said. “They take offense sometimes when some businesses come in and take over the market.”
According to Forbes, North Carolina was named the Best State for Business in 2019, and not only are people migrating, but so are companies. Despite this, Elon’s general consensus is that many are eager and excited for Wawa’s expansion. Puleo said she thinks a Wawa would be good for the Burlington community.
“Wawa expanding down here is a fantastic, phenomenal idea. They’re gonna make so much money, especially off of these Elon kids because all we want is Wawa,” Puleo said.
Puleo said that for Elon students having a Wawa nearby can also help students feel closer to home.
“The way I can describe it is like, for some reason, Wawa to me is like a home,” Puleo said.