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.
It’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.”
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A few weeks back, as my hubby and I were headed down the Shore, we made our ritual pitstop at a Wawa in the middle of New Jersey (That one at the end of 55? Where 47 and 347 split? Anyone?) for a few pick-me-up road trip snacks.
Chris scurried off to get his haul while I stood in the middle of the store looking around blankly. It occurred to me, not for the first time: What in the world can I eat here that won’t leave me with heaps of guilt afterwards? “I need to do a post on this,” I said, actually out loud, to no one in particular.
And so here we are, two weeks later, with the completed post in question. It came together thusly: I called my pal Jessica Procini, a Philly-based health coach whom you may have met at Be Well Philly Boot Camp. She was the one who wrote that awesome What to Get in Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Aisle post earlier this year, so I knew she’d be up for another food-shopping project. Last Friday, she and I trotted off to the 17th and Arch Street Wawa location to see what we could find.
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While there are many in the city of Philadelphia who believe the city could use a second casino — a worker at a pizza shop I frequent said SugarHouse is “probably the smartest thing the city’s ever done” the other day — others say the city doesn’t even need one casino and certainly not a second. Hmm, who to trust? Hey, how about a racetrack casino in Chester!
Harrah’s Chester has come out in opposition to a second casino in the city. One can make the obvious inference that, well, a new casino would take away from their business at Harrah’s Philadelphia (which, like the Philadelphia Union soccer team, is in Chester). To be fair: While Harrah’s was involved in 2010 in a partnership to build and open the stalled Foxwoods casino, it didn’t bid in 2012 when the process was reopened.
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First, there’s the name. Wawa. A word that sounds like nonsense. Like baby talk. Like a sad trombone. Wah-wah.
Thinking, I guess, that I’m not originally from here and thus a little ignorant about such things, the Wawa lover will generally inform me, tone pious, that “wawa” is the Ojibwe word for the Canadian goose in the company’s logo.
I mean no disrespect to the tribe — neither the Ojibwe nor the Philadelphian — but no amount of etymology can change the fact that seven years into my Philly life, I’m still mortified to utter the phrase, “We’re going to Wawa for a Sizzli.”
My husband, a Philly native, will drive us 10 miles out of our way on road trips, past BPs, 7-Elevens, Sunocos, Dunkins and countless other pit stops, in order to hit up a Wawa for that Sizzli. Or, more often, for the coffee, which he swears is the best road coffee money can buy. The dark roast is above par, but it’s still just coffee. When a gallon of gas costs three times as much as the coffee you’re driving to fetch and the convenience chain of choice has closed so many city outposts that a soul can hardly even call it convenient, it’s time to question such devotion.
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Philadelphia Police are on the lookout for three guys who allegedly robbed the Wawa store at 1707 Arch Street of sandwiches. Yes, you read that correctly. Read more »
Last year, we were unsurprised when Psychology Today suggested that “convenience stores” are the top place in Pennsylvania to fall in love — this, according to a scientific, rigorous survey of Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” ads. Now our loyal friends at Reddit have compiled more evidence of the same:
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From the Philadelphia Police Department: Read more »
Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the very first Wawa in Folsom, Pennsylvania. To celebrate, the stores are offering free coffee to everyone who asks for it. And over at the main Philadelphia magazine site, Dan McQuade is celebrating by rounding up 50 cool facts about Wawa through the ages–things like the origin of the name, celebrities who have Wawa tattoos, interesting observations on the hairstyles of Amish teenagers, where to buy a plush version of the Wawa mascot (yes, they have a mascot) and why you can’t buy rolling papers or porno at your local Wawa.
Seriously, it’s a great list. And the amount of history, controversy and cultish sociology he manages to cram into just 50 short entries is amazing. There is no doubt that Wawa is the greatest convenience store of all time, and the list essentially reads like 50 reasons why. Check it out at the link below.
50 Things About Wawa For Wawa’s 50th Anniversary [Philly mag]
AP Photo | Courtesy of Wawa Inc.
Fifty years ago today, the first Wawa opened at the corner of MacDade Blvd. and Swarthmore Ave. in Folsom, Pennsylvania. Today, you can get free coffee at any of Wawa’s locations. (Here’s a Wawa store locator.) To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, here are 50 things about the Philadelphia area’s favorite convenience store.
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