When I noticed that the windows of Mandala Tibetan Store, the shop that's held down the corner of Seventh Avenue and Lincoln Place since November 2007, had been covered over, I was admittedly afraid that it had closed for good. It's such an offbeat store that I assumed that the increasing rents had finally caught up with it. But fear not: owner Zumki Lama assured me that it will be opening back up within three weeks, as she's only knocking down a wall to allow for a little more floor space.
Lama runs the shop along with her brother Kunga, and the money brought in by this and the sister shop on St. Marks Place in the Village (which opened ten years prior) allowed her to bring her entire family over from Tibet.
Their assortment of authentic Tibetan merchandise, produced in India and Nepal due to trade restrictions, is quite intriguing, and makes for a unique shopping experience. Clothing, rugs, antiques, jewelry, decorative items and fabrics, and spiritual items are all unlike anything else in the area, and Kunga, who is usually the one behind the counter, can tell you the backstory and significance of any item in the shop.
Even tough the styles of clothing and jewelry sold there never had the mass appeal of some of the neighborhood's other boutiques, centered on Fifth, the merchandise has one quality that the others don't: uniqueness. And while there are countless examples of businesses being "closed for renovations" that are in fact closed for good, I think we can rest assured that this one will re-open, and when it does it'll look better than ever.