This last Saturday evening marked the launch of a new TigerTransit Shuttle designed to bring the students, staff and faculty members of Princeton University and the surrounding community to the three major merchant districts of our newly united Princeton business community.

The Princeton Merchants Association (PMA) Board of Directors would like to sincerely thank Princeton University for this generous gift to the Princeton community and express our gratitude for the consistently strong outreach that they have made over the last few years to strengthen the businesses in our downtown and at the Princeton Shopping Center.

The new TigerTransit Saturday Shopper shuttle stops at multiple student housing locations and proceeds to take its passengers to the Whole Earth Center, the Princeton Shopping Center, the restaurants adjacent to the Blue Point Grill, and then continues up Nassau Street to Palmer Square, ending at the Dinky station. There is no charge for any Princeton visitor or community member to utilize this new route.

The unity that has been built between the merchants in Princeton Borough and Township has been strengthened by the forward thinking leadership of Paul Breitman (Assistant Vice President, University Services), Kim Jackson (Director, Transportation & Parking), Kristin Appelget (Director, Community and Regional Affairs), and Karen Woodbridge (Director, Community Relations).

These four individuals have been represented at every major merchant meeting over the last few years. They have made sacrifices, of their time and positions of influence, in order to open doors for local merchants to reach out to university departments and the student population in ways that are leading to increased revenues and the establishment of faithful customers that shop, dine, and enjoy the wonderful entertainment that Princeton offers.

The willingness of Mr. Breitman and Ms. Appelget to listen to our ideas and actively work with the PMA Board to more effectively reach out to the University community has been vital to sustaining our businesses in this challenging economy.

The initial request for a shopper’s shuttle had been mentioned in a public meeting by Fran McManus earlier this year and was expanded upon this summer during a lunch meeting on campus where local merchants were presented with a question of “How can the University assist in restoring and sustaining a thriving merchant community.” The PMA leadership mentioned our desire to have more of the University community utilize the unique shopping opportunities and restaurants in the Harrison Street corridor.

Within a few months, Mr. Breitman and Ms. Jackson had searched their budgets and developed a plan that would lead to the complete funding of the Saturday Shopper shuttle to bring their students and staff to the Princeton Shopping Center and Whole Earth Center.

This announcement, delivered by Ms. Jackson, brought a huge roar of applause from the 90-plus merchants who filled our inaugural meeting last month. We would like to specifically thank Ms. Jackson for working with her team to extend the shuttle line to also include the merchants surrounding Blue Point Grill and Palmer Square. This gesture matches our goals of presenting a united shopping and dining experience to the local Princeton community and the University population.

In addition, these four leaders have taken great strides to train local merchants on how to become official vendors of Princeton University and how to navigate through the administrative contacts that could best benefit from the services and products that we offer. While there is indeed significant growth potential for our working relationship with the University, every initial step has been taken to nourish the foundation that was built by bringing the U Store and Labyrinth Books to Nassau Street.

We look forward to welcoming, serving, and impressing every person who travels on the Saturday Shopper shuttle. We encourage the community to join us as we welcome the increased number of students and faculty that will be shopping and dining with us on Saturday, October 17, from 3 to 9:30 p.m., which will be the official launch of this TigerTransit route.

The Princeton Merchants Association applauds Princeton University for helping us take another step in making Princeton a better place to live and do business!

Travis Linderman, MacLean Agency

President, Princeton Merchants Association

Other signers include Anita Fresolone, Palmer Square Management, vice president; Lori Rabon, Nassau Inn, treasurer; Doris Figueroa, the Place to Bead, secretary; Kathleen Morolda, Cranbury Station Gallery, past president; and members Kefi Abramov, Heartland Payment Systems; Mark Censits, CoolVines; Alan Dowler, Hamilton Jewelers; Chris Hanington, Princeton Shopping Center; Deb Hunter, Chicklet Books; Bill Lettier, Bon Appetit; Nancy Mazotas, Nassau Group Real Estate; Fran McManus, Whole Earth Center; and Jack Morrison, Blue Point Grill.

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