Bell Bates Is Closing

Bell Bates“Just saw a sign that Bell Bates on Reade Street is going out of business,” emailed Gabrielle last night. “It is a shame.” It is indeed; even if you were never one for natural foods, you have to miss the loss of another independent business—and especially one that has been family owned and operated since 1885. As with Bazzini’s a few years ago, I think it’s hard not to pin this as an inevitable consequence of Whole Foods coming to Tribeca.

(Note: I’m out of town so I can’t wander over there. If anyone knows more about the closing, please feel free to weigh in.)

UPDATE: I hear from a reader that the Bell Bates folks sold the space to a school—which shouldn’t be a surprise, given the  rest of Reade Street.

UPDATE: B. sent me a photo of the window.

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  1. Too bad. So what will it become… a bank or a nail salon?

  2. This is actually a really great store with some knowledgeable employees working in the vitamins section. Whole Foods has its merits, but now it’s starting to piss me off that all our local independent businesses are disappearing.
    I’m starting to sound like some of the old-timers on here!

  3. ;(
    Wish they had done something to distinguish themselves once Whole Foods stepped in (same with Bazzini). I really liked them. They just needed a point of difference and an evolution (i.e.: a GREAT juice bar maybe? A great Beauty bar with latest natural products, Vitamin experts, that really carry the latest products) You can’t stay the same when the playing field changes. it’s really sad. NYC is turning into a mall anyway. The mom and pops really will have a hard time staying around.

  4. I expected them to consolidate and rent half their space at some point. I’m surprised they are bowing out completely. They offer things that can’t be found elsewhere, but were too big to be boutique and too small to compete with WF.

    I’m guessing another pre-school?

  5. That is very disappointing that they are closing – I go there every week.
    Love all the organic produce, food, cereals, vitamins and anything else in the store.

    Agree that Whole Foods is alright – but sad to be losing an independent business like this.

  6. :-( I have shopped there since even before I moved into the neighborhood, when I was just a young thing. I remember going there back in 1975 when it was on the corner of W. Broadway and Reade. ALAS!

  7. Much as I dislike Whole Foods in general, a technical point: It’s not as though WFM bought the Bell Bates space and forced them out. The demise of Bell Bates was brought about (at least in part) by the fickleness of shoppers who switched their allegiance.

    What? Tribecans are fickle? They go for the new and shiny over the tried and true? Oh no that can’t be.

    And of course another part is the ridiculous real estate market that favors flashy–possibly flash in the pan–high-paying retail renters.

  8. Pity…I get my vege juice there after the gym…It’s the best!! Their customer service always lacked though,not friendly at all.

  9. One more piece of my heart….

  10. Bell Bates is/has closed on June 14, 2013, I will miss it greatly

  11. I’m so saddened by the news of Bell Bates’ closing. This was one of the last few places in the area where I could get out from my stuffy office and walk for a really healthy meal, without the hormones, and other added crap. Matthew and Billy were two of the sweetest guys that you ever wanted to meet and talk with. I would always chat and laugh with them. Bell Bates was really the best bet for lunch, supplements and healthy snacks. I blame the corporate monsters for this. Grrrrr! @ Whole Foods!

  12. I also remember belle bates being on W. Bway! An ex introduced me to them, It was very small and everything was stacked upward, that they had to use ladders…….those were the days. Give it a few months and all will feel the loss.

    My company relocated further downtown…..I was missing my daily walks there for the past 5 yrs!

    Thank you Belle Bates and workers!!!!!!!!!

    They were the best!!!!!!!!


  13. Although we live in New Jersey, my wife (who practices law downtown) and I (who am affiliated with a church in Murray Hill) shopped regularly at Bell Bates. It is sad to see it go. Its closure is one more reason not to feel sad about not living in Manhattan.

  14. Yes, why did God let Bell Bates close? And why did he allow Rev. Johnson (who is affiliated with a church in Murray Hill) and his wife (who practices law downtown) to move to the depths of hellish New Jersey? He really does work in mysterious ways. There is very little to look forward to in this neighborhood these days. I am overcome with sadness and a Vitamin D deficiency.
    I will and wait for a sign…..
    OMG – is LeoDiCap really coming to TriBeCa?! Is that THE sign?!!