Wawa announced that it will shut down two of its stores in Center City — one on 12th and Market Streets and the other on 19th and Market Streets — in the following weeks.
Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce told The Philadelphia Inquirer that despite additional supervision on security, Wawa has faced “continued safety and security challenges and business factors,” which “have made it increasingly difficult to remain open in these two locations." On Oct. 13, the company announced that it would be closing two of its 40 Philadelphia locations.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia Councilmember Mike Driscoll said that a senior Wawa representative had told him that Wawa would be “considering excluding Philadelphia from its expansion plans because of crime concerns,” according to The Philadelphia Business Journal. Driscoll said this conversation occurred the day after 100 juveniles ransacked the Mayfair Wawa located in northeast Philadelphia.
Based on the police statistics over the past two years, there have been 61 criminal incidents across the two Wawa locations, including 49 theft reports in total.
“These two closures do not necessarily impact or limit potential for future stores in Philadelphia County,” Bruce said. She added that the employees at the two store locations will be offered positions at different Wawa locations.
After the closures were announced, city leaders said that store-specific and business-related reasons also played into the decision. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that he does not “think it’s a bad omen at all,” according to the Inquirer.
The news of the closures coincides with a report that Philadelphia police are tracking down a group of suspects that reportedly pepper-sprayed Wawa employees at a University City location around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday. Penn Police and an ambulance responded to the scene at the Wawa on 36th and Chestnut Streets, CBS Philadelphia reported.