RESPONSE: Wawa Is Working to Balance Everyone’s Needs at Broad and Walnut

Wawa’s CEO calls for a collective effort to find productive solutions to homelessness.

Photo via Google Maps.

I want to bring your attention to the recent article written by Joe Trinacria, “Like You, Ed Rendell Hates the Wawa at Broad and Walnut.” We are deeply concerned about its negative view of an important urban problem that needs the full attention of business, government, nonprofits, and citizens.

We believe targeting any single retailer to make a point on homelessness without posing any solutions is unfair and takes us a step back. Is this type of negativity really the best way to serve your readers, the citizens of Philadelphia, and those who are homeless? We’re sure you would agree that homelessness is an issue that affects all of us and requires a collective effort to work together for productive solutions.

As you are well aware, we’ve been part of this City for many years and we’ve listened, and made a long-standing commitment to meet the needs of our urban customers. We continue to expand here, adding to the quality and convenience of city life, and more importantly, bringing new positive energy and jobs. The Broad and Walnut store alone added 90 new permanent positions in the heart of our city.

On this issue in particular, we have worked hard to balance the needs of everyone involved, and to ensure the actions we are taking are always aligned with our values. That means we have and will continue to work on implementing store-specific measures to ensure our customers have the best retail experience possible. It also means we will work with community partners and others to support programs making a difference in the lives of all citizens. To that end, for some time, we have been working with City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services and partnering with organizations like Project HOME to help do this on many levels. We’ve also adopted the City’s “Text to Give” campaign inviting Wawa customers to donate five dollars to the Mayor’s Fund to End Homelessness, installing in-store signage to give people a way to take meaningful action.

We will continue to work to address the complex issue of homelessness on many levels because it is the right thing to do.

We believe that Philly Mag is an important voice in this community, and we expect more. Your readers represent a powerful force for good in this city. We feel strongly that you, and all of us, have a responsibility to create productive dialog.

Let’s help solve this together.

Chris Gheysens is the president and CEO of Wawa, Inc.