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Wawa becomes Baltimore Ravens “official hoagie” and partner

Wawa becomes Baltimore Ravens “official hoagie” and partner
A Wawa convenience store and gas station opened last year at the Loch Raven Commons development on Joppa Road in Towson, part of the convenience chain's ongoing expansion in Maryland. (Elizabeth Eck / Towson Times / BSMG)

Opera-singing Ravens kicker Justin Tucker belted out his love of the coffee at Baltimore-based Royal Farms in a commercial a few years back, while defensive tackle Haloti Ngata praised the fried chicken. Now, rival store chain Wawa has signed up the whole team in a deal to become the “official hoagie.”

With a marketing agreement announced Monday, Wawa hopes to solidify its connection to the Baltimore area, where it’s been rapidly adding stores and taking on area competitors such as the more deeply entrenched Royal Farms.

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"Wawa is thrilled to partner with the Ravens to make deeper connections with some of the best fans in football and reach communities all over the city of Baltimore and beyond,” said Adam Schall, Wawa’s director of store operations for Maryland, in a statement Monday.

With the multi-year deal, Wawa becomes one of the Ravens newest corporate partners, said Kevin Rochlitz, a team senior vice president and chief sales officer, in the announcement. The partnership will make the retailer’s built-to-order hoagies the Ravens’ official sandwich and include in-store and stadium promotions, such as chances to win game tickets and merchandise.

"This partnership is tremendous for both the Ravens and our entire fan base,” Rochlitz said.

Royal Farms, too, has relied on Ravens players and former players to pitch its food to go. Last year, Ngata, then playing for Philadelphia Eagles, helped introduce Royal Farms and its fried chicken to that market.

Tucker had performed opera in a tribute to Royal Farms’ coffee in 2015, singing, “two sugars and some cream, that is my dream.” In 2017, the kicker pitched coffee and breakfast sandwiches.

Royal Farms traces its roots to Baltimore’s Cloverland Dairy, which started in 1918 and delivered milk to Baltimore homes. The founders’ family in 1959 opened the first “milk store,” which evolved into today’s Royal Farms chain of 205 stores in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Wawa runs more than 860 stores in six states and Washington, including 52 in Maryland and a total of eight in Baltimore County and the city. The chain plans to grow in the state over the next five years, adding at least five new stores next year. The convenience chain also started as a dairy processing plant, but in Pennsylvania toward the end of the 19th century, with its first market opening in 1964 as home delivery of milk declined.

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