Wawa expected to open new Leesburg store in time for Christmas

The news that many in Leesburg have been waiting to hear has arrived – Wawa should be open by Christmas.

This site at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 441 and Griffin Road in Leesburg will be the home of a new Wawa that’s expected to open by Christmas. The site once housed a large Citizens First Bank building, which was replaced by smaller branches in Leesburg and Fruitland Park.

Leesburg Deputy City Manager Mike Rankin shared that news with city commissioners Monday night during their regularly scheduled meeting. He said the steel to build the structure should arrive Aug. 12 and area residents will soon see quite a bit of activity at the minimart’s site, located at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 441 and Griffin Road where a large Citizens First Bank branch and Sonny’s BBQ once sat.

The Leesburg Wawa will join two other local stores that should be popular with area residents. The location at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and County Road 466 is opening Thursday at 8 a.m. And the Wawa a few miles down the road, across from The Villages Regional Hospital, also appears on track for a summer opening.

The first Wawa in The Villages area opened in November 2017 at the intersection of U.S. 301 and County Road 466 in Oxford. It has been quite busy since opening its doors and has proven to be a popular lunch stop for workers and Villagers alike.

Ocala, Marion County and Wawa officials broke ground on one of the first stores in Ocala in September 2018.

Wawa, which has made no secret of its aggressive expansion plans in the Sunshine State, also has tackled the Ocala market with force. The fourth new Ocala store opened its doors in May, just one month after three other locations opened on the same day. Wawa officials had broken ground on those three stores with a huge fanfare in September 2018 and had made the commitment to be a huge player in the Central Florida market.

Wawa, a privately held company, began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Toward the end of the 19th Century, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, Pa., in 1902. The milk business was a huge success, due to its quality, cleanliness and “certified” process. As home delivery of milk declined in the early 1960s, Grahame Wood, George’s grandson, opened the first Wawa Food Market in 1964 as an outlet for dairy products. Wawa adopted the Canada goose in flight as its mascot.