If you happen to walk toward Canal Street then you can’t miss Pearl River Mart, a 3 level Chinese supermarket. But you must wonder why this supermarket is lost in TriBeCa and not in Chinatown? What can you find at Pearl River Mart?
The story behind Pearl River Mart
Pearl River Mart opened its doors in 1971 in the Chinese neighborhood of New York City. A few students originally from Taiwan and a group of Chinese immigrants came up with a great idea of opening a store with products exclusively from China. This was a real challenge since political relations were tense during the Cold War. Importations from both countries were extremely difficult! Ching-Yeh, the co-owner and the head of the store recalled when she and her husband were forced to drive to Canada (who had better relation with China) to bring merchandises.
After changing its location several times, Pearl River Mart established on Broadway (TriBeCa) and more recently at Chelsea Market. The actual location is 20 times bigger than the initial store with 3 floors. It has become a main Chinese department store and institution in Manhattan. The customers have changed as well. While gathering the Chinese community in the past, now people from all around the world visits this unique store.
How’s the store?
The new store is bigger, with large windows. You can see it from afar.
The store is divided into three floors. On the first floor, you’ll find traditional clothing, silk dresses, slippers and fabrics.
On the same floor you can shop for small items, dishes, kitchen accessories, stationary items, tea and more.
The basement reminds me of a street market with: small bamboo boxes, umbrellas, decorations and household items. You can also find cute Chinese paper lanterns.
The 1st floor looks like a small museum telling you the story of the store.
They have another store inside Chelsea Market.
It’s smaller than the flagship store on Broadway, however, you can find traditional items and modern brands like Hello Kitty or Pusheen.
Even if you can’t find what you’re looking for, the store itself is worth a visit!
Where is Pearl River Mart located?
It is located in TriBeCa on Broadway between Walker and White Streets.
The other store is inside Chelsea Market, above the food market.
Pearl River Mart is not A MUST-DO in New York City, no. But it’s a place you may enjoy as much as I do, to disconnect a bit from NYC and feel like you’re in another country for a minute.
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