Last Updated on October 13, 2022
The popular convenience and gas station chain WaWa plans on halting its Philadelphia expansion plans due to surging crime in the city. A location in Mayfair was recently the subject of national news after close to 100 “teens” ransacked the store. The teens stole large quantities of merchandise and even damaged cars in the parking lot. Philadelphia City Council Member Mike Driscoll recently confirmed that WaWa — which has already closed multiple locations within city limits — may halt its expansion plans entirely.
Philadelphia police are investigating the incident, which they have described as a “riot,” though with limited success as a number of the suspects are juveniles. The flash mob caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the Wayfair-based Wawa, according to the Philadelphia Police Department (PDD).
Mike Driscoll, a Democrat member of Philadelphia’s City Council, revealed that the company is considering the closure of the location during a public forum hosted by the Philadelphia Real Estate Alliance. Driscoll was joined by fellow Philadelphia city councilmembers Mark Squilla of the 1st District, at-large Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, and Center City District President, Paul Levy.
“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.
Wawa has already shuttered several stores in the city of Philadelphia in the past few years. The company, which is based in southeastern Pennsylvania, closed shop at stations at 9th and South, 13th and Chestnut, and its formerly bustling Center City location at Broad and Walnut Streets. Other Philadelphia WaWa locations have reduced their hours of operation.
WaWa has not officially commented on its expansion plans, though a senior WaWa employee previously told National File that more Philadelphia closures should be expected in the near future.
“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,” said Lori Bruce, a spokesperson for WaWa, in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
”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.
Mike Driscoll told the Inquirer that WaWa’s potential exit concerns him greatly, adding his belief that the city’s crime crisis will continue to drive businesses away if left unaddressed.
“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,” Driscoll told the Philadelphia Inquirer in an email. “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.”
Philadelphia has dealt with a massive crime wave under the leadership of Soros-backed District Attorney Larry Krasner. In addition to a surging homicide rate that has made Philadelphia the most dangerous big city in America, the City of Brotherly Love has seen armed robberies spike by 60% in 2022. There have also been close to 800 carjackings on the year.
Petty crime and robberies are up by similar percentages.
Philadelphia Police release NEW weekly crime stats
Last 28 day period 08/15-09/11/2022
🚨Total violent crime still up 27%🚨
— PhillyCrimeUpdate (@PhillyCrimeUpd) September 13, 2022