‘They’re losing money’: Wawa limits overnight hours at NINE Philly-area stores due to rampant crime

If you’ve never been to Philadelphia, it’s hard to convey how passionately people feel about Wawa, so when nine stores in Northeast Philly and the suburbs of Bucks County announce that they will be locking their doors from midnight to 5 a.m. because crime has made it too costly and too dangerous to keep them open, it’s a big deal.

The decision to close during the overnight hours comes after two stores were hit by what local police believe is the same armed robber earlier this week and after a mob of 100 unruly teens tore apart a store in Northeast Philadelphia last month, according to the Daily Wire.

Reports are that Wawa, which has locations in seven states but is headquartered in Pennsylvania, may pull out of the crime-infested City of Brotherly Love altogether.

As law enforcement investigations are ongoing, a company spokesperson for the chain would not name all of the affected stores.

“What we can say is at times we may temporarily close or limit hours due to external challenges or recommendations by local authorities for the safety and security of our associates and customers,” Lori Bruce told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Of the nine stores, two are in Northeast Philadelphia, two are in Bensalem, four are located in Feasterville-Trevose, and one is in Holland.

Following the teen mob incident, the chain closed two Center City stores in what is Philadelphia’s central neighborhood and business district.

“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.

Last week, Philadelphia City Councilmember Mike Driscoll stated that crime is crushing Wawa’s bottom line.

“They’ve had to invest in security … security doesn’t add anything to your bottom line, it takes away from your bottom line,” he said. “But without it, then you’re in deep trouble. So they are spending money, they’re losing money.”

“The scariest part to me,” he continued, “is one of the senior officials said, ‘We’re seriously considering moving out of the city of Philadelphia in our strategic planning, at least not to expand.'”

A former 18-year employee of Wawa, John Deary suggests the Philadelphia stores should consider going back to pandemic-era “pick-up” measures to combat the crime.

“I‘m not sure if many stores did this, or still do this, but early in the pandemic, some slower stores kept their doors locked and only filled delivery and mobile orders,” he told the Inquirer. “I also know Wawa has been testing drive-thru and walk-up window options. Maybe Center City stores could rely on order pick-ups or a delivery window during late-night hours.”

Surprisingly, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney seemed to dismiss the Wawa closures.

On Friday, he told reporters, “I don’t think it’s a bad omen at all. These two particular places have unique issues that had to be dealt with in a way that was more expensive for them to keep it open.”

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