After over a year of silence, Wawa has launched a petition drive and public relations campaign to generate support for its building a Super Wawa at the former location of Moore Chevrolet. If you visit the current Wawa location on Butler you are greeted by two members of Wawa’s public relations staff and a local employee who are happy to show you the plans and ask you to sign a petition in support.
They also hand a brochure out with a letter from “Wawa Head Goose” Howard Stoeckel, in which he states, “Currently we are working with developers and property owners to expand our presence in your area. Ultimately our goal is to bring the jobs, the commerce, and the sense, of community that will make the Conshohocken Wawa a true community asset.”
My favorite part of the brochure has to be this line, “Geese fly 71% further when they fly in formation. Let’s fly together for the benefit of Conshohocken.” Gag.
On the serious side, the brochures lists the benefits of a new store opening. They are:
- “Before Opening: Investing in the community with over $1 million in local contractor fees, over $250,000 in construction workers fees and over $250,000 in landscaper fees, throughout construction.”
- “After Opening: adding 35 new jobs and contributing significantly to the community, the tax infrastructure and the local economy.”
- “Revitalizing the Fayette Street corridor.”
- “Creating value for consumers through value pricing on key products and surcharge free ATM’s.”
- “Contributing to the community and charitable causes in and around Conshohocken, including school events and programs”
So here are my questions/thoughts, bullet by bullet:
- Wouldn’t any developer of that property spend a similar amount whether it was to be a Wawa, grocery store, apartments, etc?
- Are these 35 completely new jobs? Or are they considering these 35 new jobs for Conshohocken, because the current Wawa workers would be moving from a nearby Plymouth Township store to the new Conshy location?
- I am not sure how adding a seventh gas station between the bridge and the Butler/Ridge intersection is considered revitalization. Yes, it will absolutely be the nicest looking one.
- I would like to know how much the current store donates locally.
In addition to this public effort, I have also been told by a few different people that Michael Cooley, who works for Provco (the developer) has been meeting privately with community leaders to gauge support.
So, I am going to email Wawa today and ask the questions I mentioned above, plus I am going to ask the Borough if actual paperwork has been submitted to begin the process of getting approved. I will keep everyone updated.
I also just heard from a new group, the Conshohocken Revitalization Alliance, that has formed to oppose the Wawa move and plans to offer alternatives. Stay tuned for an exclusive story in the next day or so on this group.