Wing on Wo & Co. (W.O.W.) is the oldest continuously operating store in Manhattan’s Chinatown boasting a five-generation long legacy in the heart of the neighborhood on Mott St. We sell primarily porcelain ware and cultural goods. The shop works to breathe new life into cultural craft by reinterpreting tradition through an Asian American lens.
Founded in the 1890s, Wing On Wo is the oldest operating store in New York’s Chinatown, and one of the last that still specializes in Chinese porcelain. The store was founded by Walter Eng as a general store on Mott Street, in the heart of Manhattan’s budding Chinatown, originally selling products ranging from dried fish to canned goods to other tastes of home for the growing community of recent Chinese immigrants.
In 1925, the business moved to its current location, expanding the scope of the shop by hiring an herbalist to fill prescriptions on site and installing a roasting pig pit to serve up weekend specials of roast meats. The shop began to specialize in porcelain in 1964 when third-generation owner Nancy Seid took the reins from her father and wanted to do away with perishables to focus on her passion for porcelain.
The shop has stuck to porcelain ever since, most recently with Nancy’s granddaughter and fifth-generation owner, Mei Lum. Mei has taken over the store amidst a changing Chinatown. Gentrification is pushing out stalwart businesses and multigenerational families, along with recent immigrants, out of Chinatown, as rents rise.
In the face of these changes, Mei doubled down, revamping the porcelain business by updating its selection and showcasing its brand online, and simultaneously, she founded an initiative to engage the community to push back against the threat of gentrification in Chinatown. Wing on Wo and the community initiative, called The W.O.W. Project, are serving as a beacon and model for others who wish to protect and grow the Chinatown community in Manhattan.
Nancy & Shuck Seid
Nancy & Shuck Seid have been running Wing on Wo & Co. in partnership for over forty years. Nancy inherited the shop from her father in 1964. Since then, Nancy and Shuck have made a tradition of traveling to Hong Kong and China on annual buying trips. Everything that you see in the shop today has been hand picked by the couple with love.
Betty is Nancy's sister, and Wing On Wo's "number one" employee. Betty began helping in the evenings and on weekends while working a full time job until she retired in 2009. Betty is a force to be reckoned with; she has single-handedly driven our inventory management and is the busiest bee you'll find at 26 Mott Street.
Gary is one of the stewards of our family, creating traditions and contributing to Wing On Wo's community legacy. He is the most multi-talented founding member, serving as W.O.W.'s resident woodworker, cratemeister, certified yoga instructor, and nunchuck pro. Gary is excited about the W.O.W Project's mission and is driven to make it sustainable for generations to come.
Mei is the 5th generation owner of Wing on Wo and the founder and director of The W.O.W. Project. Mei is passionate about building a socially-minded business model for Wing on Wo and is so appreciative for this opportunity to create something meaningful with a community of people she loves.
Fourth generation of the Wing on Wo family, Lorraine has been serving customers since her teens. These days you will most often find her tending to the window garden and pairing succulent varieties with porcelain pieces. Lorraine is also W.O.W.'s resident curator, providing artistic direction for our shop. Lorraine is thrilled to support Mei in her vision for the future of W.O.W.
To Evan, Wing on Wo has been a time capsule that represents both his family's ancestry and Chinatown's history. Evan is focused on capturing moments and objects that are representative of W.O.W. to share with our community. At your service, Evan brings you your daily dose of Chinatown NYC via @wingonwoandco!
Lina was raised at Wing On Wo. It is where she learned all of life's most important lessons from W.O.W's trifecta: hard work and respect from Shuck, compassion and love from Nancy, diligence and sensitivity from Betty. Lina helps drive W.O.W.'s strategy and is appropriately equipped for all brainstorming sessions with gummy bears for Mei in tow. Granddaughter, daughter, and most proudly Mei's 姐姐, Lina couldn't be more excited to support Mei in bringing the vision for W.O.W. to life.
San grew up coming to Wing on Wo on visits with her mom to play mahjong with Po. Over the years, she's become like family babysitting Lina and Mei as kids and helping out at the shop wherever she can. San's parents used to run Bo Tik, a gift shop, across the way from W.O.W. which specialized in hand crafted paper flowers. San's shop savvy is in her blood and we're so happy she's on team to help us manage inventory and bead necklaces every once in a while :D
Nate is W.O.W.'s director of product. He has been living in Jingdezhen on and off for about 4 years and knows the ins and out of the city like the back of his hand. In addition to being an expert at bargaining and closing porcelain deals, Nate is also a filmmaker. Nate's most recent documentary short, '手成' City of Hands, profiles four young members of Jingdezhen's ceramics community. Nate has worked on multiple film projects documenting the lives of artists in China. He is extremely grateful to be able to use his experience with ceramics to keep Wing on Wo stocked with both new pieces and exciting artisan and classic pieces that never go out of style.
Vivian is W.O.W.’s artist line creative director. Drawing from her previous experiences working with Asian art in galleries & auction houses, Vivian's intimate experiences growing up with porcelain and the opportunities to join Nate and Mei on their sourcing trips in Jingdezhen over the years, all are helping her reimagine a renewed voice for porcelain works in community with W.O.W. and Asian American artists.