Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pearl Paint

VANISHING?

A tipster has written in that "Pearl Paint will be closing its Canal Street store soon," according to an employee.

The information has not been confirmed with Pearl; however, Tribeca Citizen also notes this week that the Pearl building is for sale or lease: "the store is a downtown icon, and from the sound of the listing, Pearl isn’t likely to survive a transition. The entire six-level, 11,850-square-foot space is listed on Massey Knakal’s website for sale or rent—or teardown."



A mecca for artists, with six floors of absolutely everything art supply, Pearl began closing stores in 2010. People worried about the Canal Street location, but it soldiered on.



Now, at the same time that artists are being pushed further out of town, it looks like time is up for this important piece of the old creative city.



What might come to replace it? The realtor suggests it's an "Outstanding Condo Conversion Opportunity."



And invites interested tenants to "Join Neighborhood Retailers" like Subway, 7-Eleven, Bank of America, and Starbucks...



61 comments:

Space Pope said...

That bites. Pearl Paint was the first place to give me a real paycheck job after my family booted me out of the house. It was fun working there and I wound up squatting for a spell. I showed up for the interview in a suit and tie and the manager asked me if I was comfortable in it. "I feel like I'm attending my own funeral" was the response that got me the work. That stuff just won't pan in today's society.

JAZ said...

Unfortunately, nobody at the city administration level ever wastes time thinking about what will happen to the value of property once everything else is gone and its just a bunch of luxury apartment complexes staring at each other with nothing to explore because every parcel was maximized for profit just like the ones they live in. Obviously I'm not pinning this on DeBlasio's group because the skids were greased before they came in.

None of them will care because it will always just be some future administration's problem, but this island will eventually be nothing but a massive luxury housing complex. Is there any other possible outcome at this point?

The thought of downtown with no Pearl Paint is absolutely mind boggling.

Anonymous said...

Good God, not Pearl!

But, the other, even sadder, meaning of this loss is that there are no longer enough artists downtown to support it. Art students at the pricey local art schools just aren't enough.

Karen Platt said...

Pearl, how much are they raising your rent? Maybe a fundraiser to keep Pearl Paint open is in order...Or How about pushing DeBlasio to re-regulate the rents for storefronts and undoing some of Bloomberg's damage.and before it is too late for the creative people and places still barely holding on in the city.
RE-REGULATE STORFRONTS!!!!!etsgoot this

Miss Phoebe said...

When I was in art school in California, my teacher was from New York. She had us buy all of our supplies from Pearl Paint online! When I got to NYC, and was able to shop there in person for the first time, was when I knew I'd arrived!

Anonymous said...

Although it's a NYC institution and it's creaking stairways have seen countless waves of young, ambitious artists over the years, the truth is Pearl Paint hasn't been a good art store in over a decade. The shelves are usually half-stocked, with some items not replaced for months (I've heard this is because the owner fails to pay his vendors on time & they just stop shipping them supplies...this behavior coming from a guy who was caught UPS-ing tens of thousands of dollars cash to FL to avoid paying tax). If we don't want the big corporations to take over, small businesses have to get their act together. Soho Art Materials & NY Central are faring much better and it's because they give a shit.

Dan C said...

I spent so much time there as a teen that I got my first "real job" out of college there. An amazing bunch of people, but run like any store with big plans: minimum wage for us workers (in the 80's that was $3.35/hr), the expectation that we would do free artwork for the store ("Think of your career!") and nil benefits. Still, it was the place to go for art supplies and get a feel of what was going on in the city. Sad to see it go.

Anonymous said...

Speechless.

ALison said...

This makes me so sad.

Goggla said...

Ugh! I spend so much time (and $) in there...the inner stairwell itself should be landmarked.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! Canal Street has tested as having the worst air quality in NY for years!! Enjoy your luxury coops!

MD said...

Though I'm sad to see it go, I have to say that Pearl has been declining for years now, so I'm not very surprised. Even though the store is huge, it's almost impossible to find what you need and the shelves are all a mess. If NY Central ever closes, that will be the day my tears fall.

Anonymous said...

i've stopped shopping at Pearl ages ago and cross Canal to go to soho art supplies where the attitudes are nicer and they have what i need. Pearl hasn't been good for years. HOWEVER, we don't need another luxury condo, tribeca is just becoming one big housing complex for rich people, the artists are being squeezed out of their lofts. the new landlords think the artists who have been living here for over 20+ years are freeloaders, and they don't realize that we deserve to be here and have earned the right to be here. welcome to scaffold prison, tribeca.

JJ Quinn said...

It's quite sad
I used to go to Pearl a few times a year , but find that I can shop online for less and often find better value
Their online store is pretty good , but not always competitive

JJ

Anonymous said...

Even though I'm not a painter I used to love spending time in what had been an amazing brush department. Has, like J&R, been empty and rather depressing lately, but still. . . Always thought I might die from a fall down those stairs.

Anonymous said...

Bummer. When I needed to paint my desk, Pearl had the coolest colors and the right quantity.

I swear, if I hear Condo anymore, I will throw up.

Anonymous said...

Wow,...that really sucks!
I used to walk through SoHo down to Pearl,..pick up some supplies & then hop over a couple buildings & score some dim sum (pork shumai) from that dive w/ the red ducks hangin' in the window. So sad :(...

Mitch said...

I am old enough to remember when this stretch of Canal St was a sort of Radio Row featuring surplus and scrap electronics. Slowly those places have been forced out and the only one left I can think of is Argo Electronics at the far west end. It'll be a shame if Pearl goes as well.

Anonymous said...

Perfect location for a 4 story Starbucks.

esquared™ said...

It's inevitable. There are hardly any artists left or moving to NYC today. And as per Sophie says in Frances Ha: "Only the children of the rich can afford to be artists in New York."

Anonymous said...

noooooooooooo it's awesome in there! what about all that gorgeous neon?!? Maybe they'll finally let me take some pictures of it. this sucks.

Anonymous said...

I lived on Canal st. before Pearl opened,and it was a great addition to the neighborhood...Times change...how about a huge handbag ,fake watch and stupid tee shirt market? and gotta say,you'd have to be out of your mind to live in an expensive condo on the noisiest,most polluted street downtown.

Alex Paramo said...

Its sad really, New York City used to be the epicenter for things niche and unique...now its all about the benjamins in the form of a big corporate presence. It was inevitable what with Wall/Water Street down the road. There was a band back in the day that had the name "Capitalism Will Eat Itself" - ok it was "Pop Will Eat Itself" but you know what I mean!

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Very sad - bought lots of stuff there over the years. That Massey Knakal site is decimation central.

Robb said...

Sad. Forty years ago when I started shopping there, Pearl Paint white in 5 gal. cans was covering the walls of most of the artists' lofts in Lower Manhattan.

DEX DEXTER said...

The sad part is that PEARL always had the low prices for 'students' and the other art stores cant wait to have them out of competition. All art supplies are going to rise in price the day pearl closes.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys want to do something meaningful and effective to support the store rather than only cry and complain ? organize a big consumer meeting Amazon and other online store are flourishing because the lack of time left to artist after their dailyjob and the cheaper prices company based in cyan island can offer to customers. let's organize a black friday this friday , and all the friday onward till whatever will happen, this will show support and participation to the company's owners … I propose Friday the 11th at noon !

Anonymous said...

No wonder we don't have a sense of history in this country..We tear it down it build a new and "improved" glass towers..Leave things alone...I use to love going to NYC to find things and businesses you couldn't find anywhere else..Now it all big corporations that you can find in any city across this country...I use to LOVE NY not so much anymore...

Anonymous said...

Pearl's business model just couldn't survive, and it is such a shame because they often were the only ones who would carry this or that obscure art material. They can't compete with the Walmart of art supplies- Blick.

Anonymous said...

I propose letting anybody you run into who lives in one of these new condos what you think of him or her. Maybe they won't care, but they might as well know they're not welcome. There were plenty of unpopulated rural areas they could have built their fake cities in, instead of plopping down onto one already here.

Anonymous said...

As an artist, haven't gone to pearl paint in over a decade! ordering online is fine. But I have decades of experience on what to get for art supplies! Paper from New York Central, Brushes from Utrechts (that was just sold to Dick Blick) .

Anonymous said...

In all fairness, McDonald's and Burger King have been down there for ages.

Anonymous said...

Like someone said on facebook this morning GREED is killing NYC. Very sad news and I also found out that J&R Music closed for good yesterday.

Anonymous said...

It's getting really difficult to buy art supplies without ordering them online these days. The ink in my Pentel brush pen ran out so I went in search of a refill cartridge, and almost no one carries the pen, let alone the refill cartridge. And this isn't a "weird" exotic art tool or anything.

The best part was when I went to Dick Blick in Chelsea and asked about refill cartridges and the salesperson there said, "Listen, I'll be honest with you--we don't sell *real* art supplies here" and we both kind of stared at each other, and then I went home and ordered the cartridge on Jetpens.com.

Lisa said...

I think the map of the "neighborhood retailers" is what makes me the saddest. When people ask me if I miss NYC (I left in 2005), I tell them I miss a NYC that's no longer there.

akashamoonstone said...

This is awful....I've been going to Pearl since I could draw. I have always bought my art supplies there. No one compares to Pearl. Even when I moved to PA, I would still take trips to NYC just to get my supplies and I still do!! AC Moore and Michael s don't compare as those are craft stores. Why would anyone allow this to happen? Doesn't NYC have enough expensive apartment complexes? This will devastate a lot of artists such as myself. Unbelievable. I feel like crying :(

Anonymous said...

The entire fabric & character of Manhattan is being wiped away because of mega corporate GREED.

They pulled out the roots of the old city and banished it elsewhere. People are tired of traveling from around the world to visit a city which lacks character. Unfortunately many of the world's great cities are trying to follow in NY's footsteps.

olympiasepiriot said...

I haven't been at Pearl in a long time. It hasn't been enough of a destination for me (unlike Lee's for drafting supplies...yes, I like *not* using CADD). Canal has long ago lost its attraction for me. I went down there to get electrical bits, upholstery supplies, cheap cookware, colored plexiglass, have my speaker cones re-papered...and now even buying dried mushrooms isn't a sure thing. I went to the Bronx the last time I needed a soundsystem repair and Flushing for mushrooms, raw peanuts, and dried scallops. Manhattan is just a lot less interesting. I've been thinking of moving to Corona. Or Montreal.

Anonymous said...

Anybody looking for real artist supplies should look into Jerry's Artist Outlet
495 Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 669-0995

It is a true ART store and you can now shop online
www.jerrysartistoutlet.com

The main owner who runs and can be found at the store (Allen) is the old CEO of Pearl Paint back in its hayday

laura r. said...

look @ the bright side. there will be a new & exciting artists district somewhere in the outer limits of manhattan. the people from tribeca will be going there to find new talent. i think the new wave of creativity is the 3rd world, theres alot going on. dont live in the past.

Virginia Maksymowicz said...

Back in the 1970s, I remember having to make out the checks not to Pearl Paint but to Robert Perlmutter directly!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have to agree. I made a trip down to the city to look for some supplies at Pearl, could not find any of the items I had previously purchased there. Had to order them on-line. Sad.

Scuba Diva said...

This makes me sad; when I was a student at the Cooper Union—which was then tuition-free—I went down to shop at Pearl often with my friends. We also went to the long-gone Canal Jean Company, and many other SoHo stores that have since vanished. (Anyone remember Jaap Rietman books? They were a 2nd-floor store somewhere in SoHo.)

I pass Pearl often because I now walk dogs in Tribeca; I definitely need to go in, probably tomorrow. I agree completely with the commenter who thinks we should do a Kickstarter or other fundraiser for Pearl. And yes, the time is long past at which the city should regulate rents of storefronts in much the same way they've regulated apartments.

Anonymous said...

Plus the best part is that I just saw a sign in Chelsea (next to Trader Joe's) that Michael's is moving in--something I've associated for years with suburbia. But on the bright side, the next time we want plastic flowers or scrapbooking supplies, we'll be covered...

Anonymous said...

I was there today, tipped off to the sale by an artist in my building. Two employees said it is closing NEXT Thursday, April 17th. It's four blocks from our apartment and I have shopped there, almost exclusively, for art supplies for 20 years for myself, my son, to help supply his classrooms, for my dad, for gifts for nieces and birthday gifts and for art supplies for art basket prizes. End of an era.

Bill Weber said...

I worked at Pearl Paint while attending Parsons in the early 80s. Loved walking down to Canal Street along Mercer,where there were still manufacturing companies. Used to get a cheap, full meal for lunch at a coffee shop around the corner from Pearl on Broadway. Now New York is a tourist and shopping culture. I think the Perlmutter family owns the Pearl Paint building. The art business is as different today as the city is different today. RIP Pearl Paint.

Anonymous said...

This one just broke my heart. I was an employee there back in the 1980s, in the brush department. We always had the best time. Everyone was a working artist...we all made the craziest signs for fun and could dress any damn way we wanted. The guy I worked with day and night had a band and he proposed daily that I join him on stage as a back-up singer. I never did it, but those were the days....everyone had high hopes of making it here and we all supported each other. Once I waited on Bob Dylan, who came in to buy some oil paint. I still have my employee name tags...it was the BEST JOB EVER. Tears, actual tears. I can't believe it.

Anonymous said...

Pearl Paints will be missed. I remember when there were long lines for you to be waited on. I felt like this was the place to be as an artist. In recent years, I didn't understand why they did not just consolidate and house all the stores in one building for cost effectiveness and maybe rent out the top floors to other companies to survive? The framing department can't be replaced for the quality, service, and professionalism. The employees were always pleasant and helpful. Lack of good management. It's a shame but you have to keep up with the times to exist.

R.C. said...

Congratulations, New York. After being the epicenter of all things unconventional, cool, and trendsetting, you are officially an open air shopping mall for tweens, trust fund babies and the Kloe Kardashians of the world. Bravo! Well, there is an upside. We'll never be for wont of a Walgreens, Duane Reades, Rite Aid, CVS, Bank of America, Starbucks or 7/11!

Anonymous said...

Planning a follow-up story? http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140414/tribeca/pearl-paint-illegally-fired-39-workers-union-says

campbell fdy said...

stumbled into a 45% off sale on everything in the store today the employees know they have jobs until fri its pretty sad crowded and creaky more condos for the children of rockstars and chinese billionaires

Anonymous said...

I find this really sad. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

Noooooooooo, not Pearl.

Anonymous said...

No kidding. How many expensive condos does one city need?!

Dutchess Peermont said...

RIP Pearl on Canal.

I am thankful for having moved to NYC in 1985. NY was gritty, dangerous and dirty.

Manhattan has been turned into a global attraction. Like an amusement park.

Anonymous said...

I just walked through the Pearl Paint store. Obvious to the naked eye is a place who's owners simply haven't cared in a very long time. The neglect of the property is appalling.

Anyone whom shares their dismay either has a very poor memory or didn't experience Pearl in its almost 30 year reign as the largest and best art supply store in the world. The current Pearl has not been relevant since 9/11, and it was an interesting contrast to drive to the store via 7th Avenue and observe the glory of the new WTC.

The greatness that people on many blogs discuss and embellish was the result of a single person acting as a catalyst between the artists and the art materials' world. Many important art supply brands were born on Canal street; still more were grown from infancy to wide use by a leader who brought together a team of people whom were simply passionate about making a difference. It was a singular location on the planet, not only with the deep and vast assortment of inventory, but also a place where artists "could get out of their head about what was on their mind".

In it's hey day, the store generate north of $35 million in annual sales, in an industry with no $10 million stores. The final tribute appears to be how long the lasting effect was as the store stumbled and slid for the better part of 15+ years; without vision, lacking care and commitment to its roots.

Sadly there have been many casualties in its demise. People and companies have been hurt.

Happily, there are more than a handful of people who bounced back from their departures. Some left the industry as they turned a pages their lives.

A few were able to reinvent themselves in new places. Artists and creative people in the NY-NJ area who shop around will not be surprised at this reveal.

Allen Shefts, who was the leader who attracted and created the team that made it special ( eventually to rise to "CEO" of the chain) has built an amazing art supply store in West Orange, NJ called Jerry's Artist Outlet.

This store is worth the drive (from anywhere).

One of Allen's key floor managers, Kevin Lavin operates daVinci artist materials with two awesome stores in Chelsea. DaVinci serves the NY artist as well as SVA/Parson's & FIT students as well.

Stocked with a great assortment and deep inventory, BOTH of these retailers will AMAZE you with the level of personal service.

Lastly artists should always consider NY Central Supply, one of the oldest art supply stores in America. With a selection and staff of knowledgeable employees, is continues to amaze artists every day! Family run through three generations, Steve Steinberg's store is an amazing place that has served NY city artists for over 100 years.

All three of these people are amazing individuals who are passionate about art and artists. They are revered within the art supply industry, and this writer has been privileged to spend his professional career in dialogue with them as customers, mentors and friends!

Scuba Diva said...

New York Central on Third Avenue has been my cardinal art supply store, and one I've been shopping at since 1980. I agree people should check it out; I've bought all manner of art supplies and had works framed there too.

I'm very, very sad about all this—but unfortunately, not that surprised.

Anonymous said...

I've been ordering my stuff from starvinartist.com for 20 years. They're awesome, and the original owner Fred is from New York and attended NYU when it wasn't all that.

jacob jackson said...

This is so sad. I've been going to Pearl Paint for years, almost as long as I've been doing anything artistic. The store was on it's way out based on the empty shelves and lack of attention to the artists. It kind of felt that way each and every time I went t in there. I did start shopping online at JerrysArtarama.com. I saved more money and was able to do more of the projects I needed and love to do.. Looks Like Jerry's is one of those traditional fine art stores that is more artist friendly and caters to artists....Are there any other recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely disgusting about the state of affairs of this city and country. Money is all that matters. Hey big business mogul... isn't it the artists that drive the machine??? Aren't they or ignite the creative spark, which then trickles down to your corporate profit, greed and Wall Street?

Without artists, the world is nothing.

Anonymous said...

Mr Perlmutter gave me my first job in the United States in the Miami store on SDixie Hwy 1983, following a drug and lie detector test. Being an Art student back then, the store was paradise with a little discount. The employees were like family.The store carpenter got the sales girl pregnant. Roz' girlfriend ran merchandising for the interior decorating and kitchen department. But even then Ol' Roz Perlmutter, his GF then, had a champagne taste and wanted everything for nothing. Mr Perlmutter and Paul Goldberg were amazing to work for. I always think fondly back to those days.