Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

How this iconic Vancouver Chinatown store adapted to the pandemic (VIDEO)

A pivot to plants.🌱

It's a veritable jungle inside Chinatown's famed Bamboo Village, but it wasn't always that way.

The family-owned Vancouver store on Pender Street has been a local fixture for more than four decades.

Over the years it has adapted to the changing times in various ways. The shop became known for selling herbs, groceries, kitchenware, mixed housewares, handicrafts, and even antique furniture.

However, it took a pandemic for Bamboo Village to really go green. Sure, plant sales were always part of the store's business but never like this.

Co-owner Keller Ng says with so many people staying home during COVID-19 they've been sprucing up their residences.

"Most of them are [shopping for] indoor tropical plants or plant-related stuff, like flower pots," says Ng.

Plants now make up the majority of sales in the iconic shop. One of the difficulties has been securing enough products from nursery suppliers, as chain stores usually get the bulk of the in-demand stock.

Running a business in Chinatown during COVID-19 comes with another set of challenges.

On the subject of anti-Asian racism, a topic so prevalent in recent headlines, Ng says it's always been in the neighbourhood.

"It happened even before. I get used to it to hear this kind of bad language. As long as you ignore them, pretty much they won't do anything to you," explains Ng.

The owner is hopeful her store will stay sustainable in the future but is always keeping an eye out for the next local consumer trend.