Pearl River Mart Foods in Chelsea Market; Courtesy of Chelsea Market
Pearl River Mart will shutter its Tribeca flagship early next year, store owners announced last week, becoming the latest New York City institution to shutter because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a blog post, company president Joanne Kwong said negotiations with the landlord “have stalled” and that he “has made clear his desire to use the courts to recoup every dollar he can, not just from our business, but from our personal assets.” Despite the closure, Pearl River Mart, which has sold one-of-a-kind Asian-inspired decor and cookware in Manhattan since 1971, will keep its stores and new food concept in Chelsea Market open and the company said it has already secured a new location in the neighborhood.
“I cannot describe the toll that this situation has taken on our family and longtime employees, especially knowing that after 49 years of serving the downtown community, the Chens deserve to be looking forward to a quiet retirement, not years of stressful litigation,” Kwong wrote.
“With the future of our economy uncertain and little relief on the horizon for commercial tenants, it has become clear that we, along with thousands of other small businesses in NYC, have no other choice but to shut down.”
In addition to the popular store on Broadway, the Asian American art gallery in its mezzanine will also close. It held 24 exhibitions from local artists and served as a gathering space for the community.
After closing its Chinatown location in 2016 following a rent increase to $6 million annually, the beloved store returned to the city with a location in Tribeca, followed by two more locations in Chelsea Market and the Museum of Chinese in America.
It’s not all bad news for the store. According to Kwong, the company has “secured a new location in the neighborhood,” which will be revealed after the holidays. Plus, last month, they unveiled Pearl River Mart Foods, a food market with grocery items and three food stalls on the lower level of Chelsea Market.
“Pearl River Mart is a NYC institution and its downtown presence–its flagship–will be missed. They will continue to have a presence at Chelsea Market,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer tweeted on Friday. “I helped secure a permit for the dragon dance when they opened their storefront & I hope to do so again should they expand!”
Pearl River Mart Foods is open every Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the lower level of Chelsea Market. In addition to visiting their stores, Pearl River Mart is encouraging New Yorkers to buy a gift card, shop their collection online, and support other small businesses in the city.
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Neighborhoods : Tribeca