Wawa is closing two Center City Philadelphia stores because of “continued safety and security challenges and business factors,” according to a statement from the company.
The beloved convenience store chain says it is closing stores at 12th and Market streets and 19th and Market streets.
A spokesperson said, “All associates from these two stores will be offered continued employment at Wawa. These two closures do not necessarily impact or limit the potential for future stores in Philadelphia County. We continue to be focused on doing everything we can to monitor.”
“It’s getting worse, it’s getting worse. I don’t even understand why they keep doing this. It doesn’t make any sense,” said customer Virginia Carrington of West Philadelphia.
Customers of the Wawa on 36th and Chestnut streets are frustrated after hearing that five women are wanted for stealing and hurting a female employee early Thursday morning.
“I heard they pepper sprayed the employees that worked at Wawa. The city is just out of control at the moment,” said Alfie Coker of South Philadelphia.
Incidents like one last month when nearly 100 juveniles ransacked a Mayfair Wawa, encouraged City Councilman Michael Driscoll’s office to make contact with Wawa corporate.
“We wanted them to know we were there for them we were there to help,” said Driscoll.
Driscoll now said he fears for the future of Wawa in Philadelphia if violent or dangerous incidents continue to happen at stores.
“My concern is any business that experiences something like this may change their business model,” he said.
Wawa has adjusted and cut overnight hours at several stores and closed others completely in recent years.
Regarding the closures of Market street Wawa stores, a spokesperson said, “These closures do not diminish in any way our on-going commitment to serve the Philadelphia community or our acknowledgment of the effort and support we continue to receive from local police. It is our hope to repurpose these two locations to further benefit Philadelphia.”
“We are very sorry we can’t be there for our friends and neighbors at these two locations, but we continue to serve the community from our other nearby stores and our commitment to the greater region remains strong. Philadelphia is our hometown and that’s something that will never change.”
The City says it’s working with business owners to understand their concerns. “The Night Time Economy Director has launched a listening tour that would publicly engage large and small companies that operate after 5 p.m. in Philadelphia.”