Wawa may exclude Philly from future expansion due to crime concerns, city councilmember says
Updated: Oct 16
Robert Moran - Philly Inquirer
City Councilmember Mike Driscoll said he met with Wawa representatives the day after a store in Mayfair, which is located in his district, was ransacked by an estimated 100 juveniles.
Philadelphia Councilmember Mike Driscoll on Tuesday said a “senior” Wawa representative told him the company was considering excluding Philadelphia from its expansion plans because of crime concerns, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
During a forum hosted by the Philadelphia Real Estate Alliance, Driscoll said he met with Wawa representatives the day after a store in Mayfair, which is located in his district, was ransacked by an estimated 100 juveniles.
“The scariest part to me 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,’” Driscoll told the forum.
Lori Bruce, spokesperson for Wawa, said in an emailed statement Wednesday that the company does not comment publicly on its planning process.
“As we have said in the past, over the past few years we have made some adjustments to store schedules and locations as a result of operational challenges. We will continue to monitor all of our stores and make adjustments as needed to ensure the safest and best operating conditions for our associates and customers,” Bruce said.
”Of course, Wawa has and will continue to invest in and support our hometown of Philadelphia in many ways. This includes partnerships with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wawa Welcome America, Philadelphia Soccer 2026, the Philadelphia Holiday Festival, and much more,” Bruce added.
In an emailed statement Wednesday, Driscoll said: “My concern is that the ongoing violence and sense of lawlessness right now could likely result in a business of any size to consider their future role and position in our City. I believe that Wawa was the latest expression of this concern after the recent incident they experienced in my district and previously in Center
City. We need to take immediate bold action if we are going to solve the ongoing public safety crisis, and we need to ensure our residents and businesses are safe in their neighborhoods. Ultimately, Wawa will have the last word and the final decision on their corporate policy as it relates to the City.”
In 2020, Wawa closed its store at Broad and Walnut Streets. Late last year, the company closed stores at 13th and Chestnut Streets, and at 9th and South Streets. Other stores in Philadelphia have cut down on the hours they are open.
In July, a Starbucks permanently closed a store at 10th and Chestnut Streets due to safety concerns.
Wawa aims to open about 100 new stores every year, building up to a network of almost 2,000 stores by 2030.
The company has stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; Florida; and Washington, D.C. Earlier this year, Wawa said it was expanding into Tennessee.
Kevin Lessard, spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney, said in a statement Wednesday evening: “City officials have been in communication with Wawa leadership regarding the challenges that they have faced, specifically at certain locations and we will continue to support them, along with the entire broader business community that power our economy, as much as possible as we address the critical issues facing our city.”