Carroll County’s second Wawa location opened in grand style Thursday morning in Eldersburg with free coffee, elected officials, a pair of feathered mascots and Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders — as well as a goal of achieving close ties with its new community.
The new store at 1310 Liberty Road will provide about 40 jobs. On the eve of the grand opening, the store had a night for the families of the associates to come in, taste food, mingle and tour the new store.
Alyson Mucha, Wawa’s public relations representative, the convenience store chain is dedicated to being involved in each of its locales.
“We’re definitely community-first,” said Mucha. “That’s kind of how the Hoagies for Heroes competition came to be, it’s a nice way to connect with the community and show everybody that we like to have fun but also, we’re here to serve you, in the store and outside the store in any way that we can.”
Wawa General Manager Jim Gordon also has a strong sense of how he wants to forge local relationships.
“It’s going to be a place where people come together. I’ve been dealing with ... Carroll County Community College and speaking to a lot of business owners and just from the feel of the community, they can’t wait for us to get here," said Gordon on Wednesday. “We’re looking forward to serving the community. We, as a company, are very involved in the community. It’s going to be a place where they can come in and feel like they’re part of our Wawa family."
Gordon also mentioned the idea of possibly starting starting up a high school student-athlete of the month.
Area Manager Renee Lust said the thing she loves most about Wawa is its connection with the people.
“The piece that has helped me stay at Wawa and really fall in love with what I do everyday is the impact I make on people’s lives,” said Lust, Wawa employee of 19 years. “Our vision is fulfilling lives for our customers, communities and each other; it’s not just in writing, that’s what we do every single day.”
Gordon shared the same feelings.
“By far, the people are awesome,” said Gordon. “It’s like one big, goofy family. We all have our faults and we all love each other because of them.”
Wawa, which has partnered with the Baltimore Ravens, offered the first 100 customers not only free Wawa T-shirts but also free Ravens hats in honor of the grand opening Thursday morning. Ravens cheerleaders were on hand, as were a pair of mascots — Wawa’s own Wally Goose and the Ravens’ Poe — to add to the event. Several people spoke during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Del. Susan Krebs and County Commissioner Ed Rothstein.
The layout of the new convenience store location is similar to the one in Westminster. The first thing customers see when walking in is the food prep section, which includes some new menu items, such as Wawa’s grain bowl. Like at all their locations, the new Wawa will also offer catering.
Until Sunday, all self-serve coffee will be free and after Sunday the coffee will be $1, any size.
According to Lust, the location is still hiring.
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“We’re open 24/7, 365, no matter what," Lust said. “So we can work with anyone’s schedule.”