December 8, 2021

Traffic and Sales Are Up For Local Holiday Season

By Anne Levin

Last year at this time, the local retail scene was worrisome. The pandemic had done its damage to downtown Princeton’s stores and restaurants, threatening what is traditionally the busiest and most lucrative shopping and dining season of the year.

Despite new concerns about the latest variant, the numbers are up this year. That, coupled with the impending conversion of 20 Nassau Street to the Graduate Hotel, has resulted in changes to the town’s retail landscape.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Princeton Councilmember Michelle Pirone Lambros, who is liaison to the Princeton Merchants Association and serves on the Economic Development Committee. “The vacancies are filling up. People are out, and the streets are full on weekends. Garages are full.“

Among the newest eateries in town are Ellinikon Agora and Coffee Delicatessen at 200 Nassau Street, Positive Vybz Island Grill at 182 Nassau Street, Dvaraka Indian at 36 Witherspoon Street, Plated Plant at 15 Spring Street, and The Pastry Room at 6 Spring Street. Lala Lobster is planned for Palmer Square at a date to be determined. Nassau Diner is in the works for at 82 Nassau Street.

In advance of the demolition related to the Graduate Hotel, Milk & Cookies has moved from Chambers Street to 20 Nassau Street. Soon to make a similar move around the corner is Nassau Barbers. CG Gallery has vacated Chambers Street for 12 Spring Street.

Tipple & Rose, a tea parlor and apothecary, has opened at 210 Nassau Street. Statements, a boutique, opened last month at 195 Nassau Street. Claridge Wine and Liquor recently got approval from Princeton Council to transfer its liquor license from Princeton Shopping Center to 102 Nassau Street, the former longtime home of the now-closed Landau’s store.

Arhaus furniture design studio is opening December 17 at 17 Palmer Square East. Princeton University Art Museum’s Art of Hulfish opened last weekend at 11 Hulfish Street. Arlee’s Raw Blends, at 246 Nassau Street, will soon open a second location at 14 1/2 Witherspoon Street.

“I’m hearing thumbs-up from retailers, and restauranteurs are saying sales are up,” said Lambros. “You see people with shopping bags on the streets. The Princeton Merchants Association is running holiday market days, and they are really excited about the response to that.”