Self-checkouts have become ubiquitous in many grocery and convenience store chains, and now a busy local Wawa is getting on the technology bandwagon by adding them.
Four years after it was completely renovated, the Wawa store at 1429 Broadway in Fountain Hill is in the process of installing two of the kiosks at its center island, where they will give customers an alternative to standing in line at an employee-staffed register.
In some cases customers will still have to stand in line, since items like tobacco products can only be purchased at regular checkouts. However, for customers making small purchases of food, coffee and cold drinks, the self-checkouts may offer added convenience.
On Tuesday paper signs that read “Self Checkout Opening Soon! Thank you for your patience!” were affixed to the shiny new kiosks, although it was unclear how soon they will be operational.
Many larger Wawas already have self-checkouts in use, but the Fountain Hill store–which is older and smaller than most throughout the chain–is seldom among the first to receive the latest and greatest upgrades.
The Broadway store was built in 1976, according to Lehigh County property records, and at 3,320 square feet is significantly smaller than newer Wawas such as one that opened in Upper Saucon Township in February. With their additional floor space, the larger mega-Wawas typically offer customer seating, which is a requirement for beer and wine sales under Pennsylvania liquor laws. Many of the newer Wawas–including the Coopersburg store onr Rt. 309–sell beer, which must be purchased from an employee-staffed register.
Some Wawas are also being built with drive-thrus, which is a trend in the convenience store sector that one of the company’s chief competitors in Pennsylvania has embraced.
Sheetz recently announced its plans to build a store on Rt. 378 in Lower Saucon Township, which company officials said will have a drive-thru if it is ultimately built.
The Fountain Hill Wawa–like all Wawas–is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. As one of the few places in the immediate area with those hours and due to the fact that there are no grocery stores nearby it is also one of the busiest stores in the chain.