The Wawa convenience store under construction at 530 Lincoln Highway in Falls Township may be able to sell beer and wine once it opens in the first quarter of 2023.
The Falls Supervisors cleared Wawa’s first hurdle Monday night by approving an inter-municipal liquor license transfer by a 3-1 vote with Supervisor Vice Chairman Jeff Boraski voting no. Supervisor Chairman Jeff Dence was absent.
Boraski said that while he was not “overly excited” about the Wawa being built where Arosso, A Touch of Sicily once stood, he “got on board with the plan.” However, Boraski said he wished Wawa had told the board previously about its plans to sell alcohol.
“I don’t like them coming back to us after we’ve already approved that business,” Boraski said.
Citing traffic and the proximity to kid-focused entertainment at Funzilla - which is also in the shopping center - a few residents spoke out against the liquor license transfer.
Supervisor Brian Galloway pointed out that Giant and ShopRite also sell alcohol and have in-store seating areas where customers can drink wine and beer, similar to what Wawa has proposed.
Supervisor John Palmer said he visited convenience stores in Harrisburg that sell beer and wine.
“I didn’t see any abuse going on,” Palmer said. “I don’t see how we can restrict capitalism when it’s throughout our community already.”
Wawa attorney Ellen Freeman told the board that Wawa operates 15 other stores in Pennsylvania that operate liquor licenses. The company employs a 100 percent carding policy for all customers purchasing alcohol. In addition, Freeman said Wawa uses a card scanner transaction device to ensure that identification is not fraudulent.
“That takes the gray area away,” she said. “It makes it safer for their employees too to make sure they’re operating at a high standard.”
The local approval is the first step in permitting alcohol sales. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board must also authorize the transfer of the license from Springfield Township.
Similar to other retailers that sell beer and wine, Wawa customers would be permitted to buy up to 192 ounces of beer or up to 3,000 milliliters of wine per transaction. The store would have five cooler doors, as well as beer and wine on the shelves and would have a seating area for up to 30 customers at a time.