The Wawa convenience store on South Main Street in Bel Air was closed Wednesday, according to a notice posted on its door.
In a letter to customers, Wawa president and CEO Howard Stoeckel said the store would close because it could not be expanded, renovated or updated to the company’s current business model. The location was the only Wawa in Harford County which does not sell gas.
A total of 18 employees would be affected by the store’s closing, and would be transferred to other local Wawa stores, according to company spokeswoman Lori Bruce.
Stoeckel said a new Wawa currently under construction will open on Bel Air Road in August.
But a new, independent replacement convenience store appears ready to slide right in to the former Wawa space. Another sign in the store’s window Wednesday read, “Coming Soon: StopBy.”
The Wawa store was a popular with students from nearby Bel Air High School, employees at the county government offices across the street, and patrons of Looney’s Pub North just a few doors down.
“I know they [Wawa] are closing all their stores that do not provide gas, but they did over $3 million in sales last year and are still walking away?” Bill Larney, co-owner of Looney’s, said in an e-mail.
“I am on the fence if it will be a good thing or bad thing for us. Positives are more parking spaces available for our customers and probably a better lunch crowd also. Also, whenever there is a problem there, we get blamed,” Larney said. “Negatives will be, I guess, the convenience for our customers to run in there on their way home and pick up something up.”
The complete text of Stoeckel’s letter to customers is below:
Dear Loyal Wawa Customers,
We are sorry to say that this store will be closing on May 26. For just over 10 years it’s been our pleasure to serve you at this store. You have truly embraced us as an integral part of your community–not just as merchants, but as friends and neighbors. For that we will always be grateful.
Closing this store is bittersweet. While we look forward to the future, it is difficult for all of us to say goodbye to the many friends we have come to know over the years.
Whenever possible, we try to expand or relocate our older stores to bring them up to date to support our current experience. That said, we hope you understand that we were simply not able to expand this store, renovate it or bring it up to our current operating model to support our ever-growing offer.
At Wawa, we pride ourselves on being a family. We are thankful that you have been a part of that family during the decade. Thank you again for 10 great years. We hope to serve you again in the near future at our other locations in the area including our four stores in close proximity (including our new state-of-the-art Joppa, MD store opened Feb. 2010 and another new store under construction on Bel Air Road due to open August, 2010.
Howard B. Stoeckel
President & CEO
I guess Wawa’s business model doesn’t trouble itself with filling customers needs and providing for the community. That store was in walking distance for alot of people and was a busy hub for the community.
I agree. I was surprised to find out they were closing (and only found because my wife happened to go in there while they were busy taking everything down yesterday.)
I know every time I went in there the place always had at least a couple customers, if not packed. I even ended up stopping in there at 3 am during the week once or twice and there were a couple customers there.
native, not naive says
Where is this new Bel Air Rd site exactly?
Hiram Lodgepole says
take away every last vestige of folks stopping by, spending a little cash, sipping a coffee with others who you know…kind of the old time ‘country store’ where everyone knew everyone else and folks caught up on the local news…WaWa seemed to fill the gap when Bo left the 7=11 down the pike…and the gourmet coffee shops rip folks…
oh well…a little more of Bel Air town is lost in the dust of $$$
Member of The Party says
Like the press release said – it just didnt fit in their business model. Sheesh.
Stefano Dimera says
I was in Bel Air today and the old Wawa store is already open for business. I think the new place is called Stop By.
The Stop by store is indeed open, but they have NOTHING. Shelves are bare, no coffee creamer, some sodas, ice, etc. This store will go out of business SOON if they don’t get stocked!
what are people stupid says
stop by sucs
Phil Dirt says
Stop By is gone (or at least going). Big banner is up on the store announcing that Gus’s Deli Market is coming, with the best pizza within 50 miles. I’d like to know the name of the place just past 50 miles away that has even better pizza. I’m up for a road trip.