Walter Wait had a passion for community, sports and Nelson. This passion shone through in his business, which he opened in the mid-1930s, first where the Main Street Diner is now, then after a year, moving to the corner of Ward and Baker.
Wait’s News is one of the oldest coffee shops in Nelson, way before the trend of having a coffee shop on every corner. When Wait’s opened they sold coffee, soft ice cream, roasted peanuts and Remington Typewriters. Community was everything to Walter. This community grew as did Nelson with mining and logging. Wait’s was the place to go before and after shift. This thriving hub was also a taxi stand at one time.
I don’t think a day goes by where someone doesn’t come in and marvel that it’s still the same after all these years. I am told that “this was my first job when I was 15” or “My sweetheart and I would come here after the movies for malted milkshakes and chicken salad sandwiches — the best in town” or as my husband and Cowboy Jimmy say “I’ve been sitting on that stool drinking coffee for over 40 years!”
I have learned a lot in our 10 years at Wait’s. Mostly from those who have no homes or have issues with mental health or substance use. The gratitude on many faces, when a warm cup of coffee awaits after the much-needed bathroom visit after spending the night on the street, shines clear. I have been taught lessons in patience, tolerance, and inclusion. For these lessons I am grateful and humbled.
It is with overwhelming sadness that we say goodbye. After 82 years Wait’s News will be no more. Wait’s News is … was our life, our future, our retirement. Now without the location our future is uncertain. However, my hope is that memories of Wait’s will live in the hearts and minds of many for years to come.