Largo police Officer Christy Lomonaco and Sgt. Ricchelle Bradshaw brace themselves against a barrage of lettuce fired from the table of their opponents in a sandwich-building contest at the opening of the new Wawa gas station and store at 8910 Ulmerton Road Feb. 27.
Photo by JULIANA A. TORRES
Largo Firefighter Luca Petrone was one of the perpetuators in the resulting food fight. The contest pitted members of the Largo police and fire departments against one another for rights to a trophy. Wawa donated $1,000 to a charity on behalf of each team.
LARGO – A group of 10 Largo firefighters and police officers underwent an unexpected type of training last week: hoagie-building boot camp.
The team at the new Wawa at 8910 Ulmerton Road showed the city’s finest and bravest how to build their signature sandwiches for a contest to celebrate the opening of the store and gas station Feb. 27.
The resulting competition involved many handfuls of airborne lettuce and tomatoes, flung between the opposing teams as they battled to build 30 hoagies faster than the other. The team of five firefighters claimed the winning trophy, but Wawa donated $1,000 on behalf of both teams for their participation. The police officers named Suncoast Hospice as their charity of choice while the firefighters donated their winnings to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In the ceremonies that preceded the contest, local officials welcomed the mid-Atlantic company, which began opening stores in Tampa Bay last year, to its first Largo location.
“We’re really happy that Wawa has opened here,” Largo commissioner Curtis Holmes said. “We understand you’re going to be opening a few more in our fair community, and I can hardly wait for that.”
The store is the second of 25 in Central Florida that the company plans to open this year. It’s the 35th Florida store since the company began expanding into the state in 2012, a fact that Florida Rep. Larry Ahern attributed to the state’s business policies.
“From our end, we agree Florida is one of the most business-friendly states,” said Todd Souders, director of Wawa store operations in Florida. “We can open stores much quicker down here than we can at the mid-Atlantic.”
General manager for the new store, Roxanne Dowell, threw a ceremonial first pitch to mascot Phillie Phanatic, on loan from the Phillies spring training in Clearwater.
“On behalf of my team, we look forward to becoming a part of your community and serving all the residents for years to come,” Dowell said.
She will lead a team of almost 60 full- and part-time employees, new jobs in the area because of the store.
For more information, call the store at 581-5042 or visit www.wawa.com.