Morning Headlines: Flagship Wawa Closes; Locals Mourn

It was the first Wawa 50 years ago. Tonight there will be a candlelight vigil.

Okay, that’s not true. Though the Greater Philadelphia area is taking this harder than James Garner’s death (RIP, Rockford), I doubt there’ll be a candlelight vigil — but note my use of the word “doubt,” because the region’s love for Wawa is (some would say irrationally) fierce.

deco daily times coverIt’s the front page of the Delaware County Daily Times, headline blaring: “1…and Done” and “End of the line for historic Wawa store.” To which I reply: WHERE WAS THE PRESERVATION ALLIANCE ON THIS? Working on the Boyd and the Blue Horizon? Priorities, people!

Barbara Ormsby, reporting for the Delco Daily Times, strikes a wistful note: “The Wawa on MacDade Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue — the company’s very first convenience store that opened 50 years ago — will soon be gone, but won’t be forgotten.”

That’s because this Wawa business, if not its building, is just moving down the road to a four-acre site at MacDade and Kedron Avenue (Route 420), where it’ll become one of those behemoth Super Wawas that everyone derides until they’re running low on gas and recognize the fortuitous joy of filling up on Unleaded and Shortis simultaneously.

The objections to the Super Wawa were not preservationist in nature, but they were passionate–so much so that the township took the case to Common Pleas court. Compromises were reached, and now Susan Bratton, regional real estate manager for Wawa, tells Ormsby, “It will still be store (No.) 1 for us, even though it’s a new store.”

Bratton said the company hopes to include some historic photography of the original store in the new building…

“It’s important that people know this is where we started,” Bratton said.

And where they are now: a beloved anchor of this community.

…at least two Wawa shoppers who live on Swarthmore Avenue, across the street from the soon-to-close store, are not at all happy about losing the convenience of having Wawa a matter of feet from their front door.

“I’m devastated,” said Denise Master. “This store has been a staple here in the neighborhood. I will definitely miss just walking across the street to the store. This is a bummer.”

Denise’s daughter, Danielle Master, echoed her mother’s dismay at the news that her neighborhood Wawa will be closing.

“It’s been there forever,” Danielle said. “I go there for fountain soda and to take money out (of the ATM),” she said.

Oh, and don’t pretend you don’t care about this story. You and the Master family and so many other people, who love Wawa for a host of reasons. Like iradiotom of iradiophilly, who put this Wawa closure as his top news item before the paraplegic who killed his brother and the missing Longport boater, hundreds of irate Philly Mag readers professed their adoration for Wawa when a writer said she didn’t understand the store’s appeal. I guess that’s like saying Sheetz seems kind of “eh” when you’re in Altoona.

A screen shot from

A screen shot from

As for the historic Wawa building? That’s not up to Wawa. But as we’ve seen before, former Wawas have been put to all kinds of good use.

What’s good for the goose: Wawa closing first store [Delco Daily Times]

Surely there’s other news, but does it even matter?

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  • Johnny Domino

    “Four-acre site at MacDade and Kedron Avenue”

    Is that where the Jack in the Box used to be? Another preservation opportunity lost.

    • $26550823

      No, across the street opposite of Nifty Greedy Fifties. Knocking down those corner homes.

      • Johnny Domino

        Surprised those houses hung in this long.

  • jt

    WaWa’s wrong with you? WaWa not keep the original site as a museum. They sure have the cash to make it a loss leader.

    • Johnny Domino

      “Wawa’s closed, moose out front should have told ya.”

  • Lee Rosenthall

    Is that new location really accessible for folks who live near, and rely on, the original one but don’t own a car? Not from what I can recall. Sad news, no doubt, for them.

    • $26550823

      New Wawa will be less than a 1/4 mile away.

      • Johnny Domino

        Charge up the Rascal!

  • Morlando26

    Wawa’s found a niche market in selling mediocre food to people who don’t know any better. ‘Wawa – It’s better than 7-11.’

    • plowking

      or ‘6-11’ on Beidler Road in Upper Merion Township!

      • Morlando26

        Still better than Sheetz, although at Sheetz you can get fries. +1 to Sheetz.

    • JayBee

      Dank youze. Finally a statement regarding WahWahhh I relate to. Yup, I be one of “those” non-indigenous peoples who now lives here (gasp! da noive) and just doesn’t get “it.” With so many great local places to choose from, I still gotta ask… “Why?” This is rhetorical, of course. Anyhoo, but whatevs, I just don’t care.

  • bill k

    Wawa customers are devotees in a way that Sheetz customers are not. People don’t rave about Sheetz. It’s just convenient. Even in Altoona.