Neighbor Spotlight: Asia Crafts is Chinatown’s Hello Kitty Haven
It’s true that there’s something for everyone here in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood, whether you’re an artist, foodie, athlete, or something in between. Asia Crafts is one of the many small businesses that compose this thriving cultural hub, and lucky for us, it’s only a five-minute walk from our Crane Chinatown apartment community.
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Eric Law, manager of Asia Crafts and Philadelphia native. From Hello Kitty to anime, the store is a Chinatown staple for tourists and locals alike.
As a family-owned business opened by Law’s parents, the shop has become quite a passion project. After more than 20 years of business, Asia Crafts has evolved from a simple craft store to include Hello Kitty products, anime, and Japanese art and collectables. Despite attending school for accounting, Law always knew that he would return to the family business—not out of obligation, but out of a true desire to help carry on his parents’ legacy.
The first thing one will probably notice about the store is the giant Hello Kitty sign outside. In fact, Asia Crafts is the only authorized retailer of Sanrio products in the area. According to Law, the store’s most popular items are usually the plush dolls, which have fans of all ages. Hello Kitty stationery, pens, notepads, erasers, and calendars are especially popular during back-to-school season and during the new year.
Asia Crafts isn’t just about Hello Kitty, though—the store also sells a variety of anime and Japanese art collectables such as Dragon Ball Z pop figures, which are a particular favorite for Law.
According to Law, Chinatown is often thought of in terms of restaurants, bubble tea, and housing, but Asia Crafts adds an extra layer of culture to the neighborhood. To him, the business isn’t about the sales—it’s about the customers.
“Some people have visited the store for 15 to 20 years,” he says, noting the amazing feeling of watching customers grow up and bring in their own children. Law really appreciates the “generational aspect of the store and how customers recall memories from when they were younger.”
When asked about his favorite thing about Chinatown, aside from childhood memories, Law says, “the convenience of location… it’s in the middle of everything,” adding that he loves the ability to roll out of bed and quickly grab a sandwich or visit a park all within walking distance.
In Chinatown, there’s always a karaoke bar to hit up during a night on the town, a new restaurant to try, or a shop to explore. You’ll quickly become a part of this thriving cultural community when you live at Crane Chinatown—book a tour today, and don’t forget to stop by Asia Crafts while you’re in the neighborhood.