COVID-19 has caused Bucks County residents to rethink everything from car purchases to weddings. It may now redefine how we get our grab-and-go morning coffee and Tastykakes, writes Ashley Gurbal Kritzer for the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The Falls Township Wawa is the first in Pennsylvania to offer drive-through service. Its grand opening makes it the second in the market to serve up sandwiches, beverages, candy and newspapers from a window (the first is across the river in Westhampton, New Jersey).
The move signals a willingness for Wawa to experiment — especially post-COVID — in a highly competitive market. Wawa shares its slice of the convenience store business with plenty of providers: Sheetz, Royal Farms and a few holdover family-run stores like Quick Stop in Perkasie and Village Market in Newtown.
All are wrestling with current trends for app-based delivery and curbside pickups, especially as these relate to traditional locations and their large real-estate investments. Profit margins rely increasingly on food purchases, given COVID cutbacks on gas sales from employee work-at-home arrangements.
“This pandemic has only sped up the importance of the delivery aspect,” said David Conn, EVP of retailer services group at CBRE Group Inc. “Any retailer that was lagging in that aspect got punished, and the ones gearing up for it benefited greatly from it.”
For more information about the future of convenience stores, read the Philadelphia Business Journal article, here.