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Hoagie-building contest highlights opening of Wawa store in Tampa

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Published:   |   Updated: May 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM

A hoagie-building contest, appearances by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other officials, and a presentation to Big Brothers Big Sisters are among the festivities planned as Wawa continues its expansion into the Tampa Bay area with the opening of its latest store.

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the chain opens its sixth Tampa Bay-area location, at the Giordano's pizza site at 401 N. Dale Mabry.

The opening will include the Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire Department diving into hundreds of pounds of meat and cheese to see who can make the most hoagies in three minutes, with proceeds going to charity.

In addition, Buckhorn will be on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay will receive a $10,000 grant in a partnership with the Chester Heights, Pa.-based chain.

“We are thrilled to welcome Wawa to the West Tampa community,” said Stephen Koch, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. “We know there are so many children who truly need a mentor. And thanks to this new partnership with Wawa, we will be able help more kids stay on the right path.”

Wawa, based in Chester Heights, Pa., owns and operates about 570 locations, primarily in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Dale Mabry location will be Wawa's 17th in Florida, including 11 in Orlando. The goal is for 100 Florida stores within five years.

The other Tampa Bay-area Wawa locations:

30th Street and Fowler Avenue, Tampa

U.S. 19 and Ridge Road, New Port Richey

Ridge Road and Little Road, New Port Richey

4026 U.S. 19 near S.R. 54, Holiday

3101 Gandy Blvd., Pinellas Park

Wawa Food Markets typically carry more than 6,000 items, according to the company. The chain has many house brands, such as built-to-order hoagies, freshly brewed coffee, the “Sizzli” hot breakfast sandwich and Wawa Wraps, along with fresh produce.

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