This story originally appeared in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The landmark Wawa location at Broad and Walnut streets will not reopen due to lasting impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delaware County convenience store chain told the Business Journal on Monday.
In its pre-coronavirus prime, the five-year-old store was popular among Center City office workers by day and people looking for late-night quick eats after hitting up nearby bars and clubs by night.
On the heavily trafficked corner down the street from City Hall and just off the Walnut-Locust stop on the Broad Street Line, the store was among the most popular Wawa locations in the city.
The 5,000-square-foot store will not be reopening “due to the unique circumstances that continue to impact our customers’ daily lives and our own store operations” amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Wawa said in an emailed statement via spokeswoman Lori Bruce.
“This decision was a difficult one,” the statement continues. “But due to the impact from the pandemic coupled with some operational uncertainties of today, our long-term plans for this store are no longer viable.”
Wawa is a fan favorite in Greater Philadelphia and annually ranks among the top convenience stores in the country by outlets including Food & Wine. The chain is beloved for its hoagies, American comfort food sides and coffee.
Wawa rushed to open the Broad and Walnut streets store ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in September 2015. It was the chain’s flagship location at the time, before the new one launched at Sixth and Chestnut streets in December 2018.
The Broad and Walnut street location was no stranger to commotion in its heyday. The shop initially operated on a 24/7 schedule but ditched the nonstop service in favor of 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekend hours after a series of incidents, including a stabbing in June 2018.
Nearby Center City Wawas remain open at 12th and Market streets and 13th and Chestnut streets.
As the pandemic continues, the chain is also “accelerating development of new on-the-go experiences and innovative store formats to serve our communities in new and better ways,” according to its statement on the closure. The methods include expanded delivery, curbside ordering and pickup, testing drive-thrus and other “new digital conveniences.”
Wawa announced plans to open its first drive-thru-only location last week in Bucks County.