Wawa will continue its push into Southwest Florida with yet another convenience store slated for Sarasota County.
The Sarasota County Development Review Committee will discuss plans for a 6,119-square-foot gas station at the intersection of North Washington Boulevard and Myrtle Street during a meeting Thursday, Nov. 20, according the meeting agenda. Wawa, which has an obsessive following of northeasterners familiar with the brand, earlier this year filed permitting documents for a location on University Parkway.
The Wawa development will encompass two parcels worth a combined $888,800 on a total of 1.6 acres, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser. Sarasota Chemical and Paper Supply currently occupies a one-story building on the site.
“When we identify a piece of land where we want to open a Wawa in the Mid-Atlantic, it’s a three- to five-year process,” said Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens speaking at a lecture recently organized by Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lutgert College of Business in Fort Myers. “Here it’s a 12- to 18- month process. It’s different because there are not as many levels of local bureaucracy.”
Wawa plans to build 300 stores in Florida, including at least 80 on the Gulf Coast. Each store costs $6 million to build and employs about 40 people.
“There’s high traffic, high population, good workforce and great demographics.” Gheysens said in an interview with the Business Observer. “And we felt that our brand could really get traction down here.”
— Business Observer Editor Jean Gruss contributed to this report