While Main Campus is currently home to two 7-Eleven convenience stores, more than 800 people have signed an online “iPetition” in support of bringing a Wawa food market to campus, and more than 2,400 people clicked “attending” on a “Bring a Wawa to Temple University!!” Facebook event.
Ethan Penning, a freshman political science major, started both the iPetition and the Facebook event, which publicizes the online petition.
“It seemed kind of wrong that a college in the middle of Philadelphia didn’t have one when I thought about it, so I figured there was nothing to lose by trying to get one,” Penning said in an e-mail, adding that he recognizes the large amount of support his petition received.
“I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable making that sort of broad statement [that most students want an on-campus Wawa], but I think our movement has reached a point where it’s too big to ignore the idea,” Penning said.
Richard Rumer, the vice president of business services, said the idea of bringing a Wawa to Main Campus has not been out of mind. He said when the university was developing Liacouras Walk in 2001, it approached Wawa about coming to Temple, but the company declined.
“We’re not really sure why [the company declined]. My personal opinion is they don’t want to be in urban areas,” Rumer said.
Rumer said there is no precedent of a student petition bringing a food store to the university but that, “we do try to be responsive to students and to trends.”
Current and former students have used the Facebook event to speculate that Wawa won’t build on Main Campus because its current interest is in building gas stations. Wawa representatives were unavailable to comment.
While “competition is always good,” Rumer said he is unsure whether the university could support three convenience stores with 7-Eleven’s two locations.
A campus Wawa would be “100 percent dependent on people walking by,” he said.
While it appears Wawa has no current plans to come to Main Campus, business owners like Richie Dzemaili, the third-generation owner of Richie’s at the 12th Street Anderson Food Pad Vendors, said he wouldn’t worry about the store being his competition.
“Wawa won’t come on campus, but Wawa’s really no competition. I’m their competition – I’ve been here longer,” Dzemaili said. “Richie’s never scared.”
Rosella LaFevre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.