The Wawa store in the village of Chadds Ford closed its doors for the last time Wednesday, Jan. 30 with no notice to the public other than scattered rumor.Phone calls to Wawa's corporate office were not returned.
The store has been serving customers in the village for more than 20 years and has become a part of daily life for many people.
Janet Smith, who works at Leader's Sunoco across the street said she had heard a rumor the previous week about the possible closing.
"It will be missed," Smith said of the store."All of our guys are here every morning. I don't know what we're going to do. It's so sad. People depend on [this store.] It's where we buy our milk and bread. It's a way of life."
Local attorney Mike Lyons was shocked when he learned of the store's closing."I come here five times a week. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Barbara Moore, director of the Chadds Ford Gallery was equally shocked:
"This is inconsolable. It's inconsiderate, awful. We've been dependent on this store for a long time," she said.
Sondra Eisenman, of First Keystone Bank, also said she had heard rumors the previous week. While the bank is not dependent on Wawa for business, she does see the closing as an end of an era.
Eisenman said losing the store won't be too much of a hardship as long as it's replaced by another similar type of operation, someplace where people can get their morning coffee, newspapers and sandwiches.
She speculated that the decision to close was based on the fact that "There's too much business for too small a location. The parking lot is small." She added that Wawa corporation likely wants a store with a gas station.
Such a facility is being constructed on Route 202 near Brinton's Bridge Road. One local store employee said the new store is scheduled to open sometime in March.