Pearl River Mart

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Pearl River Mart
Industry Retail
FoundedSeptember 1971;49 years ago (1971-09) in New York City, United States
FounderMing Yi Chen
Headquarters395 Broadway,
New York City
United States
Key people
Joanne Kwong (President)

Pearl River Mart is an Asian-American retail brand and family-run business in New York City. [1] [2] The business was founded in 1971 in Chinatown, Manhattan, as Chinese Native Products by Ming Yi Chen and a group of student activists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Chen has said that she and her colleagues "wanted to create a small window into the Chinese culture". [3] Its products include braided straw slippers, paper lanterns, cheongsams, cotton Mary Janes, and copies of Mao's Little Red Book . [4] [5] [6] Pearl River Mart has become a New York City institution. [5] The business has an art gallery in its main location, and hosts in-store events and performances. [7] [8]



Pearl River Mart was founded in 1971 by Ming Yi Chen and a group of activists from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. [9] Diplomatic relations between the United States and China were frozen at the time, and trade was banned due to the Cold War. [10] The founders hoped that the store would improve cultural understanding of China. When trade relations were restored, Pearl River Mart was an early recipient of Chinese goods. [9] The store has occupied various locations since its founding, [4] [6] [11] [12] including a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) location described as a "department store". [13]

In March 2016, Pearl River Mart closed due to increasing rent. [5] It re-opened in November 2016 under the leadership of Joanne Kwong, the Chens' daughter-in-law, who graduated from Columbia University and worked as an attorney, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, and VP of communications at Barnard College. [10] [14] [15] [16] In November 2017, the store expanded with a second location in Chelsea Market; [12] a third location opened at the Museum of Chinese in America in January 2019. [17]

Pearl River Mart has collaborated with several Asian-American designers and entrepreneurs. It also has an art gallery, which showcases the work of Asian and Asian-American artists; [2] featured artists have included Corky Lee, Chinatown Art Brigade, and Yumi Sakugawa. [18] [19] [20] Artists Space and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center have been guest curators. [20] [21]

See also

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Coordinates: 40°43′06″N74°00′10″W / 40.7182°N 74.0028°W / 40.7182; -74.0028