This morning, neighborhood gumshoe blog Tribeca Citizen reported that Pearl River Mart has secured a new, smaller home in Tribeca—six months after its brocade coin purse and paper lantern emporium on Broadway shuttered in the face of a massive rent hike.
The possible new location, reported without sourcing, is 395 Broadway on the corner of Walker Street in Tribeca, a ground floor space with an accompanying mezzanine and basement totaling 5,725 square feet (that's a humbler home than 477 Broadway in Soho, which clocked at 30,000 square feet).
JP Sutro, the managing director for 395 Broadway leaser Lee & Associates, refused to confirm anything on the record on Tuesday. "Where'd you hear that?" he asked us. "I can't really confirm anything on this end, because we're still working on a portion of the building and the landlord hasn't really given an answer on what he wants done with it."
A spokeswoman for Pearl River also declined to divulge details, though she confirmed some news is pending. "Great to hear from you," she said. "Pearl River will be making an announcement tomorrow regarding their plans." Asked to elaborate, she said the exclusive has been given to a "business paper."
All of this suggests that Tribeca Citizen is on to something. Regardless, we won't have to wait long for confirmation.
Pearl River Mart was co-founded in 1971, under the name Chinese Native Products, by company president Ching Yeh Chen, her husband Ming Yi Chen, and a group of student activists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The Chens' original store location was on Elizabeth Street in Chinatown. Taking the name Pearl River in 1978, the store made a pit-stop on the corner of Canal and Broadway in 1986 before settling into 477 Broadway.
When news of the old location's pending closure broke in April 2015, Ching Yeh Chen told us plans for a smaller location were in the works (in addition to the online shop, which you can browse here).
"We truly believe that to have a strong and modern website, and take advantage of the social media, is one of the major things that Pearl River has to do," she said, adding that "a brick-and-mortar of a much smaller size would be important too, because that's part of Pearl River. People can spend hours here!"