Union Square’s cherished dinnerware store Fishs Eddy speaks out about COVID struggles
A view of Fish’s Eddy’s storefront at 889 Broadway in June 2019. Map data © 2020 Google
“We’re like a fish gasping for air — literally,” said Julie Gaines, the owner of Fishs Eddy, to the New York Post. The much-loved Union Square store has been in business since 1986, selling mix-and-match, reasonably priced dinnerware that includes NYC-themed items and quirky finds like Obama shot glasses and parking ticket plates. Since the pandemic hit, however, they’ve only been doing 30 percent of their usual business, much of which is based on tourists, which is making it harder and harder to afford their high rent.
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Julie from the iconic Fishs Eddy reached out to me because her business is really struggling. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid with my parents when they needed dishes and plates. @fishseddynyc has been designing their own kitchenware and selling them on 19th st. since the mid-80’s and are adored by the neighborhood for having the best quality stuff at the lowest prices. Unfortunately they are doing about 30% of their usual business since COVID and Julie is really afraid for the future of the store. Please show up and support this NYC staple ASAP! #momnpopshop
Instagram’s New York Nico shared a post about Fishs Eddy earlier this week after Julie reached out to him. Julie would not disclose to the Post what her rent is, but said it’s “a lot of zeroes.” Pre-pandemic, the quirky, New York City-themed patterns that are original to the store drew in a lot of tourists. Fishs Eddy also received large orders from restaurants around the country. But with tourism almost nonexistent and restaurants themselves struggling to stay alive, Julie said to the Post, “There is no extra money for anything. No money to do extra patterns for dishes, every penny is going towards survival now.”
Fishs Eddy did receive some financial support from the city to be used toward employee payroll, but she told the Post “we don’t need [the employees] because we don’t have the customers… If you look under the hood everything is way more complicated. It’s just not so simple the city gave us money and we can dig out now.” Like so many other small businesses across the city, Julie is hoping for a rent forgiveness program.
The store is open for business Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm (closed Tuesday) and on Sunday from 11am to 6pm. They also have a full online store.