The much-adored, 40-year-old Wawa will be closing its current doors permanently on Friday.
The store’s new location onthe east side of Alexander Road within the Dinky transit complex will open the same day about 450 feet from the station’s original location.
The Wawa staff said that they anticipate a positive response to the store at the new location due to added features like new equipment and more space for customers to navigate.
Violette Ireland, the store’s general manager, said the relocation is also going to result in a more aesthetically pleasing building with less clutter.
“The needs of the customers and the business have really outgrown this space, and so I’m very, very excited. Our whole team is excited to be moving to the new location,” she said. “It is going to be state-of-the-art.”
Ireland added the new store will feature brand new equipment such as full-service milkshakes and a new Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. The layout and shelving of the store will also be modified so that customers will have more space to walk around and the flow of traffic will be smoother.
Some of the new features will be unique to the Princeton area, according to Ireland, who noted that the new store is going to be the only Wawa with a gigantic skylight above the register court area.
Ireland also said that most of the current Wawa features would be retained in the new store, including the products offered, like built-to-order nachos and lunch and dinner offerings.
She added that a lot of familiar faces that customers are used to seeing will still be around, and the staff will be as friendly as ever. There is also expected to be an addition of about 20 new staff members.
“I don’t expect for anyone to be anything less than impressed when they shop at the new store. And we’re the same company, you know,” she said. “We’re very humble as a company. We’ve always held true to our culture and how we are with our people and our customers.”
Ireland said one of the best things about the store is the diverse mix of customers, ranging from University students, alumni, staff and faculty to high school students and faculty, local sports teams and local residents and workers. The majority of the Wawa’s customers have been University students who tend to show up late at night, she added.
Mary Robinson, a Residential Food Service worker at Whitman College, said she often visited the Wawa over breaks because the staff is friendly and the turnover at the store is quick.
“They’re fast —they ain’t slow,” she said. “And they’re really friendly. Plus, the food is really good —like the bagels and hoagies!”
Saumya Swaroop ’15 said the reason for the Wawa’s popularity is that it provides all the conveniences of a super store without being too expensive.
“It’s a good place for people to just hang out, meet friends and just get some good food,” she said. “And it’s a delight for me and people who live toward the south of campus and for people who are independent."
Christopher Cross ’18 said the Wawa is especially convenient for people who stay up into the late hours of the night.
“I have weird sleeping patterns, and even after dinner, at 2 a.m., I often find myself hungry,” he said. “The Wa is then my most convenient option for some food.”
Haley Hineman ’17 said that apart from the convenient location and change from dining hall food, she likes to visit the Wawa because of the quality of its coffee.
“I would say that I wouldn’t really remember going there on some occasions, but generally, I just like getting coffee there before games with my teammates from the University’s softball team,” she said.
Hineman added that the service at the store is good, and the people at the cash registers are friendly. She also said that sometimes intoxicated people go to Wawa because it is open 24-7, and for some people, it is closer than other late-night dining options, such as Hoagie Haven on Nassau Street or the U-Store.
Humza Azam ’18 recalled a Wawa-related incidence that was particularly memorable for him.
“So one night, while we were all studying for physics, we were all really, really hungry, so we decided to go to the Wa. And then while we were there, one of my friends, Jacky —he bought a lottery ticket for $3,” Azam said. “It was just a scratch-off lottery ticket. We ended up beating the system and got double the money back!”
Sonali Ravi GS said going to the Wawa has cultural significance campus.
“Like college kids party, Princeton kids go to the Wawa,” she said. “Because they’re poor and need coffee.”
The doors of the new Wawa are set to open on Nov. 21 at 8 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony at 10 a.m.