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'Wawa has answered my prayers': 1st drive-thru-only store opens in Lehigh Valley

new wawa window.jpg
Phil Gianficaro
Wawa mascot, Wally Goose, greets Ashley Vavrock of Wescosville, the first customer at the new Wawa DriveThru in Lower Macungie Township.

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. — The long, serpentine line began forming before the sun awakened the day.

Free T-shirts will do that.

Friends Randy Folland and Anthony DeJesus chatted and counted down the minutes as they joined dozens awaiting the grand opening of the Wawa DriveThru at 6216 Hamilton Blvd., in front of Movie Tavern Trexlertown.

Wawa ribbon.jpg
Phil Gianficaro
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Thursday morning at the new Wawa DriveThru in Lower Macungie Township.

A Wawa opening celebration would commence an hour later with a T-shirt giveaway for the first 100 in line, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a hoagie-making competition between members of the Lower Macungie Fire Department and Macungie Ambulance.

(Winner: Ambulance — 23 hoagies in three minutes. The fire department came up five hoagies short — or is that Shorti?)

But the star of the day was the debut of the drive-thru, the second such Wawa in Pennsylvania; the first is located in Falls Township, Bucks County.

“I know most people like the drive-thru for other reasons. This is mine. It’ll be helpful.”
Randy Folland

From 5 a.m. until midnight, folks can roll through the double-lane drive-thru and order their favorite Wawa fare—signature hoagies, award-winning coffee, Sizzli breakfast sandwiches, specialty beverages, bakery treats and more.

Folland said he was thrilled about the drive-thru—the assumption being the convenience of not having to leave his vehicle into rain, sleet, snow or gloom of night.

The assumption was wrong.

Folland lifted his L.L. Bean zip-up jacket to reveal a medical port near his waist.

“I have bladder cancer,” he said. “The drive-thru just makes it easier for me to come here. I can just stay in my car.

“I know most people like the drive-thru for other reasons. This is mine. It’ll be helpful.”

'Provide excellent service'

The new Wawa will employ 25 workers. It will not have walk-in, convenience store shopping, just the drive-thru.

“The drive-thru is just another way for Wawa to provide excellent service to our customers,” store General Manager Kevin Hibell said.

When the drive-thru opened around 9 a.m., Ashley Vavrock of Wescosville was the first customer, rolling her minivan through the ordering lane and around the building to the serving window.

“Wawa has answered my prayers.”
Melanie Belotta, Lower Macungie

Melanie Belotta of Lower Macungie said the convenience of a drive-thru makes driving her two young children to daycare less of a hassle.

“I can buckle them in the car, use the drive-thru to get a coffee and get them to daycare,” Belotta said.

“For me, the drive-thru will be a necessity more than a luxury. Did you ever try carting two young ones in and out of a store when you’re in a hurry?

“Wawa has answered my prayers.”

The Hoagies for Heroes competition between first responders didn’t come with a loser; each team was awarded $1,000 for the charity of their choice. Macungie Ambulance chose Macungie Rehabilitation for Responders.

“Since 2014, Wawa has donated $150 million to local communities across the country,” Wawa area manager Gerard Matthew said.

“Wawa is committed to supporting our communities.”