(WTAJ) — The “East vs West” battle in Pennsylvania is always strong. Steelers vs Eagles is big among football fans, but there’s one that some might say is even bigger and that’s the battle of convenience: Sheetz vs Wawa.
It’s a battle that’s almost as iconic to a Pennsylvanian as scrapple or apple dumplings. Lines get drawn, loyalty gets built, and even passion takes over. From grabbing a coffee while filling up the gas tank to a convenient dinner for the family, both companies have continued to serve our great state — and well beyond — for nearly 60 years.
The brands have built themselves into economic powerhouses in Pennsylvania that seem to have a metaphorical ” do not cross” line drawn somewhere around the state’s capital. When you hit a certain point while driving through the state, you’ll stop seeing one store and only see the other, but that might all change as Wawa plans to expand into Centre County.
So, “Sheetz vs Wawa.” What’s the right answer? While it might be hard to just put everything into a simple comparison list, here’s what factual numbers tell us about the two companies.
On Dec. 1, Forbes put out a list of the largest private companies in America. While neither company ranked top 20, Wawa came in hot at number 24 with Sheetz coming in at number 37.
Sheetz currently ranks at number 37 on the Forbes list. The company is touting an $11.7 billion revenue in 2022. They also employ 24,000 people (give or take a few) across their 671 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and even all the way down in North Carolina.
Sheetz opened their first-ever shop in 1952 when Bob Sheetz bought a few of his father’s dairy stores. The first official Sheetz, however, is no longer a Sheetz.
Now sitting at 2601 5th Avenue in Altoona is a Magisterial District Judge, but that iconic “Sheetz building” look is unmistakable.
Wawa ranks 13 spots ahead of Sheetz on the Forbes list at 24. The company showed $14.9 billion in revenue in 2022 with 40,000 (more or less) employees across 983 stores.
Not only does Wawa cover the east coast of PA, NJ, Maryland, Delaware, Washington DC, and more, but it completely litters central and eastern Florida. Much further south than Sheetz has been.
The Wawa family began in the market in 1803, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the first Wawa market officially opened as an outlet for their dairy products. The first ever Wawa opened at 1212 McDade Boulevard in Folsom, Pa., but it has since closed as an improved Wawa opened down the street in the 2000s.
Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter
Year over year, Wawa showed a strong 35% increase in revenue from 2021 to 2022, from $11B to $14.9B.
Sheetz, however, showed a massive 109% increase from 2021 to 2022, from $5.6B to $11.7B
While both stores provide a different experience and different menus, they both sell gasoline, are known to have great staff, and make sure you’re in and out.
The numbers show Wawa with more stores, more employees, a bigger expansion, and more revenue, but Sheetz is far from down and out in this east/west battle.
The company — Sheetz — has announced its expansion into Detroit in 2025 and the sky is the limit. “Sheetz run and done” is taking over as they grow. Can Wawa keep their lead? Only time will tell.