NYC’s Chinatown Small Businesses Can’t Keep Doors Open

( – In New York City’s Chinatown, small businesses are struggling to stay in business and keep their doors open.

One business, Ting’s Gift Shop, has been in business for over sixty years, but they have just had to shut their doors. The shop, located at the corner of Doyers and Pell Street, offers anything from porcelain spoons to pajamas and even jewelry.

“Grandma had the store packed, anywhere she could find a space she had something. Every space was used.” Jona Ting says. Just last month the family announced that they’d be closing their doors after decades of operation.

“Now it’s bare. I need to return the shop to the landlord, so it’s bare,” Eleanor Ting said, referring to her mother’s shop.

The main reason for this business, and many others, closing their doors is the economic decline that occurred during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study, the pandemic left Chinatown with over a twenty percent decrease in jobs.

Activists have said the years that have passed since the pandemic haven’t exactly helped the community at all. Many business owners have been there for years and have built a connection with the area and its people.

“A lot of these legacy business owners are close to or past their retirement age, and we don’t want to lose these legacy businesses,” said Victoria Lee, the co-founder of Welcome to Chinatown, which is a non-profit organization that helps community business owners.

According to Lee, “They’ve shaped the cultural fabric of Manhattan’s Chinatown.” She continued, “They’ve done such a good job of achieving the American dream.”

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