When Pope Francis visited Philadelphia in 2015, Michael Nutter — the city‘s mayor — welcomed His Holiness by offering to buy him a Wawa hoagie of his choosing. As this episode of Cult Following discovers, that’s just one anecdote that describes the fierce adherence fans have for the beloved regional chain.
Some may call it a convenience store, others are quick to think of it as a full-fledged supermarket, but most put Wawa in a category all its own. “Wawa is as if you took a corner deli that had been a part of a community and turned it into a chain,” says one follower — echoing those fans who no longer live near a Wawa and now have to schlep for the chain‘s iced tea, hoagies, and pretzels. “It’s not even a convenience store,” says another devotee. ”It’s a Wawa.”