Pearl Paint (image by Flickr user tasayu)

Pearl Paint, the downtown art-supplies staple on Canal Street, has shut down, Gothamist reported. We previously noted the structure’s real estate listing on April 10, though at that time closure was not yet fully assured, with the listing offering that the “the space can be delivered vacant.”

The listing remains active with the broker, Massey Knakal, but Pearl Paint closed the branch as of last Friday. Employees had been given notice on April 7 that their positions would be terminated April 17; Workers United Local 169, the union representing the employees, alleges that this amounted to the illegal firing of 39 people. A grievance has been filed with the Pearl Paint parent corporation and charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board, according to DNAinfo.

“These people have worked for Pearl Paint for 16 years and they just disregard them,” Julie Kelly, the manager of the New York/New Jersey Regional Joint Board of Workers United and a representative for Local 169 told DNAinfo.

Hyperallergic has not received a response to repeated queries to Pearl Paint’s corporate office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Update, 4/23: An agent for Massey Knakal Realty confirmed over the phone this morning that the building is still on the market. The representative also disclosed that the non-public asking lease price is $825,000 (annual base rent); the “outstanding condo conversion opportunity” is concurrently listed for sale at a public asking price of $15 million.

Mostafa Heddaya is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic.

10 replies on “Pearl Paint Closes [UPDATED]”

  1. this is a sad day when institutions aRe closing and trends aRe having success if only for the moment.

    like when the book megastore Barnes & Nobles replaced first hand book dealers only to be shut down by online and ebooks.

    I wonder when the dust settles what traditions will we still hold.

    1. All traditions and institutions must be examined for what they are and do. Change is the constant. Should’ve seen Canal St. in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. Central Art Supply is smiling. Blick has one eyebrow raised.

      1. Lesson to ALL business models to constently adjust the business plan to consumers instead of relying on dated traditions and heritage.

        This could have been avoided had they rebranded sponsoring emerging contemporary artist. Their demise was no connection besides consumerism to the community they served. Hinting to what Chris mentioned below but that is not enough to compete in the global online market.

  2. Think of all the great artists who bought paint at that store! Shame I never visited the original, I went to the one in paramous until blick came to town and stole away all their business!

  3. It’s very sad to see Pearl close, such a history and so many great artist have passed through their doors. There is a really fantastic little store that opened up in Harlem though off of 125th street on 7th Ave if anyone needs a new place to go. Artist and Craftsman Supply.

    1. I can’t speak for the stores in NY, but having spent a decade or so buying art supplies in the Boston area I have to say.. we have had Pearl, Blick, and A&C in the same 2 blocks of Central Square in Cambridge and A&C has ALWAYS been a far better store. Lower prices, friendlier and more knowledgeable staff, and a store that is always clean (unlike Pearl) but doesn’t look like a Wal-Mart like Blick.

  4. It’s sad to see businesses close in the art supply space. The best alternative for me is – Great prices, deals and artist friendly. I got over the feel of holding the art supply before buying it.

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