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MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- For residents of Cape May County, N.J., the rumors are true—Wawa closed three area locations as of 12:01 a.m. today.
The three stores, which opened in 1983, 1985 and 1989, were staples for many residents who now need to look elsewhere for convenient food offerings. Customers did not need to look far for an explanation to the closings, however, as a letter from Chief Executive Officer Howard Stoeckel was posted in the stores slated to close.
"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," Stoeckel wrote.
He explained while certain stores are expanding and being upgraded, other stores simply no longer served the company’s business model.
Lori Bruce, the public relations manager for Wawa, told The Press of Atlantic City about 10 to 12 older Wawas will be closed every year in the chain’s five-state region. She noted new stores are also being opened with a "significant investment" in Cape May County over the past five years. Many of the new stores are larger and have gasoline.
In addition, Wawa is starting to serve dinners to go. Bruce explained the company is test-modeling a system in Pennsylvania through which orders can be placed on the Internet, or text messaged, and customers then come in to pick up the order.
"You constantly have to reinvent yourselves and stay relevant to your customers," Bruce told the paper.