Meet a New Downtown Merchant: Carpenter Tan


190 Front Street

There are more than 850 branches of this chain in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Flushing, Queens—so they’ve got to be doing something right.

This small store at South Street Seaport has items you won’t find anywhere else in the United States (besides Flushing): hand-crafted, elaborately decorated Chinese combs and brushes, ranging from $10 to $5200. There are also hairpins, hand mirrors, fans and chairs. The products are made from wood, horns or bone and the service—often from the Manager, David, is always friendly.

The chain’s logo depicts its humble beginnings: a lone Chinese carpenter (Tan) in a small garage. They’ve come a long way.