John Jovino, the Oldest Gun Shop in the City, Permanently Closes Due to COVID-19

Posted on: May 20th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

As more businesses reopen in Chinatown and Little Italy, one will not.

The John Jovino Gun Shop has officially fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Grand Street store is a relic, and photo magnet thanks to the revolver hanging from the facade – it opened in 1911 in the shadow of the former police headquarters on Centre Street. Over the years, the mom-and-pop served both members of the police force and the public at large. It’s considered the oldest gun retailer in both New York, and the country.

Charles Hu, who took over the business in 1995 yet retained the name, held out for months. The crushing economic stress from the mandated shutdown forced him to close the business for good.

At a time when gun sales are at record levels throughout the country one would think Jovino’s would do a booming business, but work stoppages at gun manufacturing plants had halted supply and Hu had neither guns or ammunition to sell.

Photo: Karlin Chan

The closure of Manhattan’s last remaining gun shop marks the end of an era, and members of the Chinatown Block Watch stopped by on his last day to wish him well.

John Jovino’s is the first major casualty for Chinatown as a direct result of Covid-19, and probably will not be the last.

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