Back in the 90s, Wilkes-Barre had Cafe Metropolis, Palooka’s Diner, Mimmo’s in the Mid-Town Village and a Wawa.
Yes, the popular Southeastern Pennsylvania convenience store chain once operated a food mart in the East End section of the Diamond City.
The exciting news was announced in July 1989 that a Wawa Food Market was coming to Wilkes-Barre. Gary Leone, a real estate representative for Wawa, said in an interview with Citizens’ Voice that “we’re looking for more market share in the Poconos. Wilkes-Barre is a sensible place.” He said the deal should be completed in 30 days.
Leone said the Wawa Food Market will feature “fresh produce, deli and dairy products. Most stores are open 24 hours a day and sell strictly food items. Wawa stores do not sell gasoline.”
The Wawa was built at the intersection of Spring Street and North Sherman Street in Wilkes-Barre. The store opened on May 22, 1992.
For the next nine years, the Wawa would offer its hoagies, snacks and dairy products to the people of Wilkes-Barre. But it would all come to an end in August 2001.
Lori Bruce, spokesperson for Wawa, in a Citizens’ Voice article from Aug. 25, 2001 said the company decided to close the Wilkes-Barre location after an “overall review process.” She added “whenever possible, we try to update, expand or modernize our stores rather than close them. But sometimes, that’s not possible.”
Bruce said the Wilkes-Barre location “was not conducive to operate as a convenience market.”
The Wawa would close but the building would not stay vacant. The building would become home to a Quick Stop Food Mart. The Quick Stop is still in operation today.
If you are looking for a Wawa fix, here is list of stores in Northeast Pennsylvania –
Blakeslee Corner – Rt 940 and SR 115 in Blakeslee
White Haven – Rt 940 and Pennsylvania Turnpike
Stroudsburg – West Main Street
East Stroudsburg – 207 Prospect Street and 5121 Milford Road
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast