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The Wawa on 38th and Spruce streets currently does not have a liquor license, but it did have one in the 1990s.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

One Wawa in the city of Philadelphia will soon offer liquor after the store won its bid for two liquor licenses, paying the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board $186,357 for a location in Philadelphia and $160,357 for a location in Delaware County. 

This will be the first Wawa with alcohol in the city in recent years, but the second in the state. A Wawa store in Chadds Ford, Pa. has had a liquor license since 2017. 

The Wawa on Penn’s campus, at 38th and Spruce streets, had a liquor license as well as indoor seating in the 1990s. The license was suspended in 2001, and the seating was removed soon after. In 1997, the convenience store’s license was suspended for a day by the state of Pennsylvania due to four counts of violation, also resulting in $200 in fines. 

It has been historically difficult for stores and other businesses in the greater Philadelphia area to receive liquor licenses, as reported by the Philadelphia Magazine. The PLCB set up an auction system in 2016 that allows company to bid for expired licenses. Giant foodstore paid $450,000 for a liquor license in Abington Township, Pa

Philadelphians have mixed reactions to Wawa’s new license, with fans of the change citing convenience, and skeptics arguing that a store that children go into should not be selling alcohol, 6abc News reported. 

Wawa recently expanded its footprint in Philadelphia, opening large stores in the city that offer seating and a new, more open shopping experience — one at 34th and Market Streets in September 2018, and one in Old City in December of the same year.