The store, founded in SoHo in 1971 by husband-wife team Ching Yeh and Ming Yi Chen, will close “sometime at the beginning of the new year.” Cause of closure is the one-two punch of coronavirus and an unforgiving landlord, according to a blog post on the company website.
“Our negotiations with the landlord have stalled and 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,” wrote Joanne Kwong, the daughter-in-law of the Chens, who began running operations four years ago. “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.”
“I cannot describe the toll that this situation has taken on our family and longtime employees,” the post continues.
Despite the closure, Pearl River Mart will maintain its presence at the Chelsea Market.
The eclectic store spent four decades selling Chinese home goods and culture to New Yorkers. Their fifteen-year tenure at 477 Broadway concluded in 2016 when the landlord jacked the rent with a five-fold increase to $6 million per year. But Pearl River Mart rebounded a year later with two locations, Tribeca and Chelsea Market, and later with space at the Museum of Chinese in America.