POST BY ANNE JOHNSON
Pearl Paint on Canal. Image via: Anne Johnson
The self-proclaimed World’s Largest Discount Art Supplier, Pearl Paint is closing up shop around the country. Of the two Manhattan locations, both on Lispenard Street, the framing shop is in the process of closing and surplus products have been making their way over to the main store across the street. Other stores have already closed. As of today, the Web site lists only six locations – two in Manhattan, one in Paramus, New Jersey, and Los Angeles, as well as two others in Florida. (The corporate offices are located in Fort Lauderdale.) The large Chicago store, which was once rated the best art supply store by New City.com, closed down last week, with the San Francisco and Iselin, New Jersey locations following suit this week.
Given the number of 40 percent off sticks at the main New York store, it’s no wonder bankruptcy rumors surrounding the consecutive closings have been circulating. Company executives did not respond to my inquiries on this subject, though one employee told me the Canal Street location would “absolutely remain open” when I visited the store yesterday. He could not offer any insights into the future of other stores.
Declared the Best Place to Fantasize About Your Rightful Place in the Whitney Biennial by the Village Voice in 2006, Pearl Paint has been an art supply institution since 1933, catering to the needs and dreams of students, artists, and craft-enthusiasts. After opening their doors as a house paint merchant on Chambers Street, the company quickly switched to the art supply industry when moving to their present location on 308 Canal Street. Today, the stagnant trade of art supplies threatens to end the Pearl Paint dynasty.