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Wawa to open in Palatka, exact date unknown

Wawa gas station and convenience store is under construction on the corner of State Road 19 and 100 in Palatka, Florida. (Evan Andrews/WUFT News)
Wawa gas station and convenience store is under construction on the corner of State Road 19 and 100 in Palatka, Florida. (Evan Andrews/WUFT News)

A new Wawa gas station and convenience store chain is under construction in Palatka, part of the company’s ongoing plan to expand into north central Florida.

Wawa has grown across the state, beginning in its southern and central areas about a decade ago. There are now multiple Wawa locations in north central Florida, including Gainesville, Middleburg, Jacksonville and now one under construction in Palatka.

Wawa originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began its expansion along the East Coast.

Construction in Palatka is taking place on the corner of State Road 19 and State Road 100 and is partially completed. It is across the street from a Circle K gas station.

Michael Speckhahn of East Palatka believes a Wawa will be beneficial for people in the community.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that a Wawa is coming,” Speckhahn said. “But it is no Buc-ee's.”

Speckhahn’s wife, Kathy Speckhahn, said the chain’s food is most enticing.

“I always get gas at the RaceWay in Palatka,” Kathy Speckhahn said. “Wawa’s sandwiches and pizza will drag me in now.”

She said she has only been in a Wawa once before but is excited to go to one regularly.

Putnam County Superintendent of Schools Rick Surrency said he thinks the addition of Wawa will provide a boost to the Putnam County economy.

“Palatka is in a perfect location because of the different highways that flow through here,” Surrency said. “I do not think any gas station will suffer at all due to the amount of people passing through daily.”

Surrency believes Wawa’s most attractive feature is what it offers besides gas. The option to get a quick lunch is also attractive to him. He feels the Wawa addition is a sign of an ongoing growth period in the county.

“As of now, three new schools are being built in Putnam County,” he said. “That alone provides the amount of traffic needed to support these gas stations.”

Wawa officials did not respond to multiple phone calls requesting an interview about their new Palatka location and when it will officially open. The company’s website does not yet list an official open date, either.

Evan is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.