How Wawa’s Canopy Took Wing
The story behind the iconic shape that came to symbolize the c-store chain’s brand promise
The angled, wing-shaped canopy that covers Wawa’s fuel islands is as powerful a branding tool as the price sign—if not more so. How it came to be an iconic element of the chain’s sites is a story about how design can elevate a brand.
In the mid-1990s, the Wawa, Pa.-based chain was looking to enter the gasoline business and wanted to make a statement with its fuel island. Mariellyn Zeock served as Wawa’s manager of architectural design at the time. She had never designed a fuel canopy before but was tasked with coming up with design ideas for that first fuel site in Millsboro, Del. So she drove around the area to look at local examples.
“I noticed that they were all the same—all really heavy on top,” Zeock, now retired, told CSP Fuels. “What if we just made it lighter, thinner and exposed the structure?”
The architectural team—which included Zeock and the late Jim Dodrill—got the go-ahead to pursue the idea from Peter Gilligan, then director of construction and engineering (and the recently retired vice president of real estate for Wawa). Dodrill worked with […]