What it’s like to work at the greatest convenience store chain in America, where employees get stock options and are expected to have ‘goose blood’

It's not just a gas station.

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It’s not just a gas station.
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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Wawa is a popular East Coast convenience store chain.

• Business Insider visited a Wawa in Williamsburg, Virginia, to get a sense of what it’s like to work there.

• Area manager Amanda Holman said the chain looks for employees with “goose blood.”

Wawa isn’t just another gas station. For many people up and down the East Coast, it’s an experience.

With locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, Wawa is a convenience store chain with a wide reach. It’s also the greatest store of its kind in America, according to Business Insider’s Kate Taylor and Hollis Johnson.

I attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is conveniently located right next to a brightly-lit, 24/7 Wawa. I spent a lot of time there in college, making great decisions like buying large quantities of mac and cheese at 2 a.m.

Last month, I traveled back down to Williamsburg and took a tour of that same Wawa, to get a sense of what it’s like to work there.

Here’s what I saw:


I arrived at the store on a sunny morning in October. Inside, I met with Wawa area manager Amanda Holman. She oversees 13 Wawas in the area.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Holman said she started her career with Wawa 14 years ago working in a store as a part-time customer service associate. She didn’t expect to stick around this long in the beginning, but she said the company’s values and benefits couldn’t be beat.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Wawa’s benefits include a 401k plan and an employee discount. Employees rate the company 3.9 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Source: Glassdoor


Store general manager Kendal Daughtrey said the chain’s paid-time-off policy encourages a work-life balance that’s not commonly found in retail. “It’s beyond refreshing to have a life outside of work,” he told Business Insider. According to Glassdoor, managers get a minimum of three weeks off — and everyone starts accumulating PTO after working for a year full-time.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

“The best thing is the employee stock option and the low cost health benefits,” said one Virginia employee on Glassdoor. Employees can utilize the company’s stock option after their first year at Wawa.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Source: Glassdoor


One Glassdoor reviewer said the employee stock ownership plan allowed employees to get “up to 10% of your salary per year.” Another said: “Being employee-owned you have the stock buy in with a good solid company.”

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Source: Glassdoor


When it comes to employees, Holman said the chain looks for people who love to interact with others. The company publishes a book every year highlighting contributions Wawa associates have made to the lives of their customers and the wider community.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

She said the most successful Wawa associates have “goose blood” — a reference to Wawa’s goose mascot. Having “goose blood” means someone is “humble, energetic, fun-loving, trustworthy, motivated, and caring.”

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The store was relatively quiet during my visit. Holman and Daughtrey told me that because this particular Wawa is located right next to a college campus, it tends to get crowded at certain times — namely, after the bars close on the weekends — and then emptier between semesters.

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Whether or not the store is packed, Wawa’s associates man the cash register and the deli station around the clock. In the Williamsburg Wawa, they also bake fresh bread twice a day.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Wawa isn’t only about making sandwiches — nor does it just sell food you can get anywhere else. The chain has run a dairy farm since 1903 and sells its own ice cream and milk, along with its own iced tea, soda, and coffee.

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During my visit, staff also let me try some of their latest pastry items — my favorite was the new lemon squares.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

A couple of customers passing through got to grab some of the free treats, too.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Whether it’s handing out free pastry to customers or chatting with regulars about their day, Holman said the most successful employees tend to focus on connecting with others. “Each day when our customers walk into our stores, we have approximately three to five minutes to make their lives better,” she said.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider

Holman joked that that’s why employees get insulted at the thought of anyone thinking of Wawa as “just a gas station.” She added that, at the end of the day, the culture is driven by the people who work in each store. “They have a commitment that goes way beyond just getting a paycheck every week,” she said.

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Áine Cain/Business Insider