Contact: Kelly Vence


Public Information Office



ELIZABETH, NJ—April 30, 2013 —Mayor J. Christian Bollwage joined Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano at the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Wawa, the store’s first location in Union County.

“Cutting the ribbon on a new business has always been one of my favorite parts of the job because this means new amenities for our residents, new revenue for our city and most importantly new jobs,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “From the new setup to the delicious food and helpful staff - this will be a business that will thrive. I would like to thank all of the great associates of Wawa for making this possible and choosing Elizabeth as the first destination in Union County.”

Wawa, a convenience store chain that started in Folsom, Pa., outside Philadelphia in 1964. Today’s event featured local officials and Wawa representatives, who spoke about the wonderful things Wawa brings to Elizabeth.

“New Jersey is our home market and we are thrilled to continue our expansion throughout the state and bring the Union County community our unique brand of appetizing convenience,” said Sal Mattera, Wawa’s Vice President of Store Operations. “We are thrilled to continue our ongoing mission to simplify customers’ lives in Elizabeth as well as continue our commitment to being a good neighbor through our local community partnerships.”

The event kicked off with a visit from Wally Goose, Wawa’s mascot; a grand parade of Wawa’s history and values; a charitable hoagie building competition featuring Elizabeth Firefighters versus Elizabeth Police Officers; samples of delicious food and beverages and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Wawa is the whole foods of convenience stores,” said Senator Raymond Lesniak. “For over 200 years, they have been investing in municipalities and assisting their communities. I would like to welcome them with open arms to my hometown and residence of Elizabeth, as they will make a great addition.”

Wawa officials held a sneak preview of the store with local officials and media outlets yesterday, in anticipation of the store's grand opening this morning. During the preview, Jim Shortall, Wawa’s Director of Store Operations announced community partnerships with three local groups.

Wawa generously donated $1,500 a piece to Elizabeth’s nonprofit organizations Groundwork Elizabeth and Josephine’s Place. With this contribution, each agency will be able to continue providing the services our residents deserve – from beautifying our neighborhoods to helping those in need.

“Each year, Wawa supports dozens of great causes from breast cancer walks to blood drives and other charitable events,” said William Gallman, Jr., Councilman of the Fifth Ward. “I am pleased that this time they partnered with three organizations that improve the quality of life each day for Elizabeth residents.”

In addition to the generous contributions to Groundwork Elizabeth and Josephine’s Place, Wawa will also donate a portion of all hoagie sales during this store’s first week of operation to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Their goal is to raise and donate $5,000 in a week’s time.

Also in attendance: Chris Gheysens, President and CEO; Sal Mattera, VP of Store Operations; Jim Shortall, Director of Store Operations; Ray Crespo, General Manager; Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski; Councilman-At-Large Manny Grova, Jr.; Councilwoman-At-Large Patricia Perkins-Auguste; Councilman Carlos Torres and Councilman William Gallman.

Wawa is located at 595 Spring Street in Elizabeth. This location is the second of three Wawa stores to open in 2013 in the North Jersey region. For more information, please call 908-820-4124.