At Wawa Store No. 70 on Trenton Road in Middletown, Friday marked the end of an era for 32-year General Manager and local notable Greg Soto.
Soto’s final day running the 40-year-old store was filled with with cheers, well wishes, hugs, handshakes and more cheers.
While the 50-year-old husband and father retired from the Wawa store where he has worked since attending Neshaminy High School, he still plans to work as a Realtor in the Newtown area.
The longtime general manager and Wrightstown resident said the family spirit between staff and customers at the store was a “gift.”
“The best gift Wawa has ever given me is my own family,” Soto said as he spoke of meeting his future bride at the company’s manager training program years ago.
Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel traveled from the Delaware County headquarters to praise Soto for making the “store great day in and day out.” He added that Soto has been inducted into the company’s President Club nine times and has been recognized by employees on several occasions.
Middletown Township Supervisor Stephanie Teoli proclaimed Friday, Dec. 14 as “Greg Soto Day.” As the proclamation was read, those who packed the store cheered.
A signed thank you letter from the Bucks County Commissioners was presented by Commissioner Diane Marseglia. She noted that during Hurricane Sandy store 70 was one of only a few Wawa opens and allowed people to stock up on supplies. Soto, she added, used his personal vehicle to transport stranded employees to work.
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick thanked Soto for being part of the community and presented him with a flag that was flown over the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
State Representative Frank Farry praised Soto for all the good he has done in the community and presented him with a citation of honor.
Many customers and staff spoke of how Soto was always helping neighbors around the community.
“Greg is the epitome of servant leaders. He puts community first," Stoeckel said.
“Greg is just a great guy, said 35-year customer Flo Sullivan. “Everyone is nice in his store and it’s always clean.”
In Soto’s legacy, Wawa presented a $10,000 to the Middletown Township Community Fund, which helps various causes around the township.
Stoeckel, the Wawa Goose and several higher-ups in the company also honored standout members of the store’s “family” of employees and longtime customers.
As part of the stores 40th “Wawaversary” celebration the customers who have been coming for years received a ceremonial key to the store, t-shirts, a month supply of free coffee and a sash denoting the honor.
Company officials also noted that Soto the lone remaining “market operator." The unique opportunity is no longer offered and allowed some stores to be operated as part franchise agreement with general managers.
Wawa operates hundreds of stores across the East Coast and employs about 18,000 people. The Middletown location was early stores in Bucks County.