It’s possible- no, likely- that there is no other store in Princeton that has enabled as many car-free shopping trips as the Alexander Street WaWa. For years, the WaWa has been the primary destination for students and locals looking for hot and cold food, milk, drinks, snacks and much more. Now, with the Princeton University Lewis Center expansion project proceeding apace, the WaWa enters its final semester before it will be demolished.
Princeton University recently announced that the new roundabout at Alexander Street and University Place is nearing completion. Although the snow has pushed back the finishing date of the roundabout to Feb 9, 2014, the overall project is still very much on timetable. The roundabout was scheduled to be completed in ‘early 2014’. Amid all the chaos of construction on Alexander Street, the WaWa has stayed open, serving its loyal customer base just as it has for years.
But the next stage of the University construction schedule is clear– by Summer 2014, a new Dinky station is scheduled to open, with a new WaWa and ‘transit plaza’ (aka bus stop). Yay! A new WaWa, and hopefully it will be new and improved, and continue to provide a walkable shopping option for the neighborhood! But…that also means that the old WaWa is going to go away, leaving just memories for the generations of Princeton students who have shopped there. Our bet is that it will be demolished some time in the upcoming summer vacation.
The WaWa is a great store which offers a wealth of goods. And it inspires a near-religious devotion from its customers. Consider this quote, from a yelp.com review of the WaWa:
“Wawa by the Dinky: You are the light and the way. How many nights did I wander your flourescent aisles seeking the perfect munchie? How often did your expert hoagie-makers save me from indignity after sleeping through lunch? How many of your 20-ounce coffees did I swallow in a vain attempt to understand econometrics?”
You’ve got to think that the new WaWa store will have a hard act to follow to inspire such customer loyalty- but we’re confident that it will. Local stores that can be accesses easily become part of the fabric of our lives, and we look forward to seeing how the new WaWa will grow to become a University institution like the existing one.
What do you think? Are you sad to see the old WaWa go? Should it be broken up and sold off in pieces like the old Yankees Stadium? And do you think the new WaWa will be as good- or even better? Have your say in the comments section below!