Is Wawa the 'Elephant' in Garden State's Room?

Published in CSP Daily News

Mom-and-pop convenience stores in N.J. worried about Pa. chain's lottery kiosks

MANTUA TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Wawa Inc.'s recently announced plan to expand availability of automated lottery kiosks in New Jersey has Garden State mom-and-pop convenience retailers worried, reported NJ.com.

In southern New Jersey, the rollout has begun in Mantua Township. The Wawa, Pa.-based chain already has automated machines in other states--212 in Pennsylvania and 67 in Virginia, according to the report.

The chain plans on installing the machines in each of its 210 locations in New Jersey by the end of first-quarter 2014, Wawa spokesperson Christine McCarthy told the news website.

Vasant Patel, owner of Woodbury Variety & Deli is concerned not only about lost lottery sales, but also about the residual effect on his business.

"If somebody's stopping by to just get lottery tickets, he or she might change their mind and decide to get something else," he told the news outlet. "If the customers are going [to Wawa] to stop for food or gas, now they're going to go in and buy lottery tickets."

He added, "I might have to change my game plan on how I operate my business. Wawa, compared to me, is a big elephant."

Raj Patel, manager at the Woodstown News Agency, said that he is concerned that Wawa's continuing growth and expanded mix of products and services is going to drive stores like his out of business.

He said if he starts seeing a decline in lottery sales, he may start offering extra deals, such as having a drawing for a free sub among those who bought tickets at his store but didn't win.

Click here to read the full NJ.com report.

Wawa, Pa., is a chain of more than 600 convenience retail stores (approximately 300 offering gasoline) located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Florida.