Century-Old TriBeCa Health Food Store Bell Bates Closing Soon
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."
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