“Wawa’s ability to grow and expand has a direct, positive impact on the communities in which we operate,” says Wawa CEO.
Wawa participated in the White House ceremony to sign the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS Act), bipartisan legislation that will reduce the regulatory burdens on small businesses, enhancing their ability to grow and create jobs.
The JOBS Act included the Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act, which is very important to Wawa, as it increases the number of shareholders that a company can have while still remaining private.
“At Wawa, we are, and always have been, a privately-held company. We believe that our success has always been due to two guiding principles—private ownership and shared ownership,” said Howard Stoeckel, CEO, of Wawa. “The passage of this Act provides us with the additional flexibility needed to continue to grow and share ownership with our Associates.”
Last November, Wawa President Chris Gheysens appeared in front of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to provide testimony in favor of the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Tom Carper (D-DE). Previous SEC rules required small businesses with more than 499 shareholders and $10 million in assets to become a public reporting company.
This regulation burdened privately-held companies with costly regulatory requirements or forced them to restrict the number of shareholders.
“Last year I testified in front of the Senate for the passage of the JOBS Act, explaining that we believe the combination of being privately held, along with shared ownership and our core values provides a competitive advantage that distinguishes us from other businesses and retailers,” said Gheysens. “I urged them to consider the fact that in the future, without the expansion of the 500-shareholder rule, in order to remain privately held, Wawa and many companies just like us would be faced with redirecting capital and resources away from new store growth to focus on reducing and restricting our shareholder structure in order to comply with an outdated regulation.”
“Wawa’s ability to grow and expand has a direct, positive impact on the communities in which we operate,” said Stoeckel. “This growth allows us to create jobs, make charitable contributions and remain an overall strong economic driver for our market areas.”