Monday, February 25, 2008

Breaking: Rittenhouse Wawa Effs Loyal Customers, Set To Inexplicably Shut Its Doors Forever on February 29th, 2008

rittenhouse wawa to closeWow, Wawa. Wow.

You really know how to make a girl neighborhood feel special, don’t you?

So, yea, news came this weekend that the venerable Rittenhouse Wawa at 20th and Locust is closing. Abruptly. And for good. At the end of this month. i.e. four short days from now.

Why? Good question. Let’s start the assuming…

Word on the street is that the lease expired and Wawa didn’t want to pay the new, higher rent. However, this seems somewhat fishy since the interior went under an extensive renovation not even a year ago. To us, it seems like a very last minute decision that resulted from failed lease negotiations.

So now the Dorchester, possibly still smarting from its recent expose in Philly Mag, allegedly wants a new tenant without as much foot traffic. And/or they (or their agent, the Salove Company) simply tried to raise the rent more than Wawa was willing to pay.

And apparently Wawa decided that it is more than content to continue its flight (or rather, return) to the gas station-loving embrace of the suburbs, where it can have its stores’ revenues bolstered by petrol sales. (Remember,
that the Wawa Express at 16th and Walnut closed — also due to increased rent, mind you — a few years earlier and was never replaced.)

So, if we’d have to call it now, it appears that Wawa is the bad guy here. And, we guess, so is the Dorchester for being greedy.

Basically, our complaint comes down to quality of life. This Wawa significantly improved the quality of life for thousands of Rittenhouse Square residents. Its convenience was, in a word, amazing.
We feel pretty confident saying that losing this Wawa is going to adversely affect the quality of life for a lot of people like us.

(And, yes, we know there’s another Wawa two blocks away. But those two blocks are an eternity, psychologically speaking. And the Chestnut Street Wawa sucks compared to the one at Locust. Sucks.)

So for it to pack up and leave town without so much as an explanation or a goodbye is surprisingly cold-hearted. Oh, wait. We forgot about the “bittersweet” note (above) from Wawa's CEO posted on the door.

Basically, Wawa is saying the Rittenhouse business and clientele is not worth the rent.

And to that, we say: FUCK YOU, Wawa Corporate. You are some dumb fucking twits if you don’t recognize that Center City’s increasingly young and affluent residents are some of the most sought-after consumers a retailer could have. Forgive us for the economics lesson, but fuck — that's why you pay a premium for Center City real estate.

Seriously. Super smart move. Definitely don’t want herds of early adopters patronizing your store and your products and then telling their friends about it. That would be totally undesirable. And totally not worth it.

Have fun selling gas to your treasured suburban customers.

We’ll do our best not to miss you, you capricious backstabbing whores.

* Note: Countless — and we literally mean count-less, as in not countable — times we’ve patronized said Wawa, both sober and not, to enjoy some type of necessary refreshment. So forgive us if we seem a bit jaded.

A request for comment to Wawa elicited a "will look into this" response.

UPDATE: A Salove rep tells us that Salove Company did not represent the Dorchester for this space/transaction even though they’ve worked with the Dorchester recently on its other retail spaces.

UPDATED UPDATE: Holy shit. Kirsten tells us that Wawa actually owns the property and is trying to sell it, which the Wawa website confirms (last listing). So this really means WHAT. THE. FUCK. Why are they leaving if they own the fucking property and bought it two decades ago for a nickel??? There, literally, is now no excuse for Wawa to be leaving this location, other than, you know, 1) them hating fun and 2) them hating a young, smart, affluent and influential customer base. Go figure.

Is Wawa is selling this space to cash in of 20 years of property value increases and to rid Rittenhouse Square of a 24-hour convenience store that it loved?? Well, what say you Wawa? Mr. Stoelkel??

UPDATE III: There will be a “Wawa Vigil” on Thursday night around 11 p.m. in front of the store. It is “not going to disrupt commercial activity in the store — on the contrary, [they] plan to buy up whatever is left, and thank everyone inside for serving [them] all these years — but after indulging in the Wawa goodness, [they]'re hoping to stage some nice photo opps [sic] out front with signs, maybe some candles, who knows.” Well done.

Wawa Company Profile: Our Gasoline Is Actually a Mixture of Whale Skin Oil, Bald Eagle Feathers and Children’s Tears [ Wawa, Official Site ]

[ Photo and on-site intel courtesy of Rickety Cricket ]


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding? Let's be honest: we've all wondered for a decade how that Wawa continued to exist in Rhouse Sq. Sure, we all used it for hoagies to eat in the park but we all knew one day the wealthy would want it o-u-t.

As for it's suckiness in comparison to 20th & Chestnut, if you've been paying attention, the service at Locust has fallen greatly in the past couple of years and the lines at the registers have grown while the cashier skills have declined. Turn-over has skyrocketed. It's past due and now maybe we'll all go buy better quality hoagies somewhere else.

I cheer the exit of a convenience store selling high fat, high sugar, high salt, mass produced food. Take it to the car-loving suburbs and feed their diabetes and coronary events. Don't let the swinging door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss the free ATM.

Degenerate said...

Wawa seems to be abandoning urban centers in favor of larger lots in the suburbs and the NE for their gas stations. This is tragic. Wawa is an amazing convenience store! I think I might die of starvation if Wawa didn't exist!!

For shame, Wawa... FOR SHAME!!

djstarr said...

Here are some pix of the Wawa closing vigil:

Anonymous said...

PW has video of the Wawa closing. It's up on WillDo.