In a statement to FOX29, the popular Pennsylvania-headquartered chain of gas and convenience stores said two Center City neighborhood stores located at 12th and Market and 19th and Market will close for good.
“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,” Wawa said. “Philadelphia is our hometown, and that’s something that will never change.”
Several other Wawas that remain open in the city, meanwhile, will close from midnight until 5 a.m. until further notice at the recommendation of local authorities in an attempt to thwart further crime and ensure the safety of employees and customers, Lori Bruce, a spokesperson for the company, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Despite reducing hours and investing in additional operational measures, continued safety and security challenges and business factors have made it increasingly difficult to remain open in these two locations,” Bruce said in a statement earlier this month, referencing the two Center City neighborhood stores. She also noted that “all associates from these two stores will be offered continued employment at Wawa.”
The company spokesperson did not list all the stores that have been affected due to ongoing investigations by law enforcement.
The announcement comes at a time when Pennsylvanians, especially in Philadelphia, are fed up with crime. This year alone, carjackings in the City of Brotherly Love reached over 1,000, reaching an all-time high. But homicides, meanwhile, reached 437, as of Oct. 25, a 3 percent decrease from 2021.
#Philadelphia ‘s most popular convenience store chain “Wawa” is packing up and closing it’s doors in Center City due to “social dysfunction” and “safety and security” concerns.
Wawa also closing stores early after a spree of gunpoint robberiespic.twitter.com/wlNKZynpzQ
— PhillyCrimeUpdate (@PhillyCrimeUpd) October 25, 2022
The permanent closure of stores and reduction in overnight hours were announced earlier this month after several Wawas across Philadelphia experienced an uptick in armed robberies. At the time, the company did not provide an exact timeline of when the stores would close.
Another contributor to the move was last month’s ransacking of a store in northeast Philadelphia, where a mob of roughly 100 teenagers looted and vandalized a store.
State Rep. Amen Brown, a Democrat, said the permanent closure of the two locations sends a message that the city is “heading in the wrong direction,” FOX 29 reported.
“If I were a business owner, why would I want to have a business anywhere in the city where someone can just come in and steal hundreds of dollars’ worth of items away from every day,” Brown said.
There are nearly 1,000 Wawas located primarily along the U.S. East Coast.
Besides Pennsylvania, the gas and convenience store chain also operates in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Florida.
From NTD News