Century-Old TriBeCa Health Food Store Bell Bates Closing Soon

By Irene Plagianos on May 21, 2013 1:16pm | Updated on May 21, 2013 1:38pm

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 Best Made Company, A La Saigon and 25 Park are a few of the new shops in Lower Manhattan, as Bell Bates prepares to close.
Bell Bates Closing in TriBeCa
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TRIBECA —  Natural foods grocery Bell Bates is closing its doors after more than a century in TriBeCa.

Large florescent signs recently went up on the windows of the 97 Reade St. shop, announcing that the family-run grocery is going out of business.

“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” said Olivia Cousins, as she approached her beloved health food store, seeing the bright pink signs for the first time Tuesday morning. “They’re an institution. They were making juices, promoting healthy living, long, long before it was a trend.”

Cousins, a customer for the past 28 years and a professor of women’s health at nearby Borough of Manhattan Community College, said the store was her go-to for fresh-made juices, vitamins, organic foods and books about health.

“They don’t just sell these things — they know how to talk about the products and give real, intelligent information,” she said, shaking her head. “Man, what a shame — this neighborhood is really changing. No more room for the mom and pop stores.”

The shop’s owners declined to comment about the decision to close, which was first reported by Tribeca Citizen. A worker in the store said he wasn't sure when the shop would officially shutter.

Bell Bates, opened in 1885, according to its website, and has faced stiff competition in recent years with a variety of health-focused stores cropping up, including a large Whole Foods, which sits a block away on Greenwich Street and opened about five years ago.

Several customers, including Cousins, said they shop at the Whole Foods as well, but losing a store with such longstanding roots in the neighborhood is another sign that "old TriBeCa" is fading away.

"I don't come here that much, but it's definitely sad to see it go," said longtime TriBeCa resident Armand Prisco, 36, after taking a sip of his just-bought fruit smoothie. "Whole Foods is a scene, it's starting to annoy me — TriBeCa is really becoming, or is, I guess, very commercial now. This shop has character."

OPENINGS:

Best Made Company, a shop that caters to the urban outdoorsman, selling sleek-looking camp supplies, tools, a clothing line and their signature axes, has opened at 36 White St. The small store, which doubles as the company’s workshop and headquarters, also offers a host of classes for the city explorer — like ax restoration and foraged cocktail making. The company leads outdoor trips to put their goods in action.

A new Vietnamese restaurant, A La Saigon, has opened in the Financial District, Downtown Lunch reported. The shop, which takes space of Chinese eatery, Eight Dumpling House, offers a variety of Vietnamese favorites, like Pho and lemongrass chicken, at reasonable prices, including an $8 lunch special. 8 Liberty Place, at Maiden Lane.

Upscale boutique 25 Park, which has two locations on the Upper East Side, has opened up a pop-up store at 138 W. Broadway, Tribeca Citizen reported. The shop, which carries designer lines of women’s clothes, bags and jewelry, is slated to run for about eight weeks.

Roti Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual, healthy-leaning restaurant has opened on 100 Maiden Lane. The Chipotle-style chain serves a variety of Mediterranean fare.

COMING SOON:

The Greek Ouzerie & Taverna is opening by the end of the month, Tribeca Citizen reported. The Greek restaurant's website, which is still under construction, said the eatery is a "new way to enjoy traditional Greek food and drink." The eatery takes the place of closed Turkish restaurant Turks & Frogs. 458 Greenwich St.

Washington, D.C. based farm-to-table salad chain Sweetgreen is coming soon to TriBeCa, the Commercial Observer reported. The company signed a 10-year lease at 413 Greenwich St., according to the Observer.

The Watermark Bar will be opening by Memorial Day on Pier 15, the Wall Street Journal reported. The bar, which originally planned to open in November but was delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, is part of the revamped East River Esplanade. The owners of the bar, the Lure Group and Merchants Hospitality, also plan to open a 3,000 square-foot beer garden called Clinton Hill at 90 Washington St., according to the Journal.

CLOSINGS:

Eclectic knickknack and antique shop Working Class Emporium is closing at 168 Duane St., Tribeca Citizen reported.

RH Gallery, at 137 Duane St., has closed, the Tribeca Citizen reported. The contemporary art gallery's owner, Adam Taki, said in an email published by Tribeca Citizen that "the circumstances required that I act quickly. Though disruptive and unfortunate, terminating operations was the best available option." He did not elaborate. The gallery made its home in the space for more than two years.

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