Wawa Stock: Can You Buy Shares?

Last Updated on 08/04/2021 by GS Staff

Is Wawa Publicly Traded?

Wawa is not publicly traded. Since it is a private company, the general public cannot purchase Wawa stock.

However, the company does have an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) similar to Waffle House. This plan allows eligible employees to receive a percentage of their earnings contributed to the ESOP. Employees must be 18 years old, have worked 12 months from the date of hire, and have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours each year. The ESOP was established in 1977.

The plan now has 20,000 participants. Wawa is 40% owned by the participants in the ESOP. According to an article by Inc., the ESOP shares of Wawa were worth approximately $900 in 2003. In 2020, those shares were valued at about $14,000. That’s quite a nice return had someone been a shareholder for the duration.

In short, you can only buy shares of Wawa stock if you are an employee. Unfortunately, the general public cannot purchase the stock until the company goes public. However, there is no guarantee that Wawa will ever be public.

Who Owns Wawa?

As previously stated, employees own roughly 40% of the company through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The Wood family, the founders of Wawa, also own a large stake in the business. The family net worth was estimated to be over $1 billion based on 2015 data from Forbes.

Will Wawa Ever Be Public?

Clearly, there would be investor demand for a publicly traded Wawa stock. Rumors certainly have been present that someday soon Wawa will file an initial public offering (IPO) to bring the company public. However, Wawa leadership has recently stated that they are committed to remaining private.

Per a recent article by The Philadelphia Inquirer, a spokesperson for Wawa, Lori Bruce, stated the following, “To be clear, we are committed to remaining privately held and to sharing ownership with our associates through our ESOP. We believe our ownership structure between the founding family and our associates is the foundation of our culture and our ongoing success.”

Furthermore, CEO Chris Gheysens stated in 2014 that Wawa will “never go public!”. He went on to say that the company’s success can be attributed, at least partly, to its “flexibility” and its ability to make “long-term decisions”.

These comments by Wawa do not mean that the company will always remain private. However, they are a sign that the company is currently content without having to deal with the complexities of being public. Of course, nothing is set in stone when it comes to business. There is nothing saying that Wawa won’t go public today, tomorrow, or the next day.

Wawa Public Competitors

You may wish to research these convenience store alternatives for potential investment since Wawa is not publicly traded:

Haymaker Acquisition Corp. II (HYAC)One of the biggest gas station and convenience store chains in the United States with around 1,400 locations.
Murphy USA (MUSA)The company operates gas stations and convenience stores adjacent to many Walmart locations.
Casey’s General Store (CASY)Casey’s operates over 2,200 stores in 16 states with most stores located in the Midwest.
TravelCenters of America (TA)It has more than 270 locations in 44 states and in Canada. It runs over 600 restaurants that include Iron Skillet and Country Pride.
Arko (ARKO)The company has approximately 2,950 locations and can be found in 33 states.

Image Credit – Phillip Pessar/flickr