Bo, a nutritionist for an independent wellness center, and Chao, a mid-level manager for a large grocery chain, were having a difficult year. They had both lost their jobs because of the economic downturn and each of them had lost a beloved parent. While job hunting for months, and going through their savings like water, they discovered Bo was pregnant. They decided that if they were ever to live their dream of owning their own business, it was now or never – and invested the rest of their savings into an eco-friendly, organic market in Chinatown. Despite well-intentioned warnings from friends and family, that they were choosing a bad time to start such a forward-thinking business, the Chen’s market became the talk of the town, building customer loyalty even from neighborhoods outside Chinatown. By the time their son was ready to come into the world, the Chen’s had replenished their savings, and put a new nest egg away. When their son was born, they named him Xiang, meaning “good luck”, for it was his conception that had turned their entire life around. Today, just five short years later, Chen Markets has four locations in New York City, and the family is proud to be part of the economic upturn – employing dozens of people in the local communities.
The Chen’s became friends with Simon Pixelford through their market in the East Village, where Simon would come to grab a lunchtime sandwich most days that he was working in the studio. Through that meeting, Pixelford Photography started shooting commercial projects for Chen Markets that resulted in advertising success and business growth. When the Chen’s wanted to have family portraits taken, Pixelford Photography was their natural choice for the job. They had worked with both Eleanor Chow and Jack Andersen, at different times, and knew that any of the Pixelford photographers would have the creative mindset and technical skill needed to get the job done to perfection. On the day of the shoot, they were pleasantly surprised to see their friend, Simon, come along to assist Eleanor, when her intern called in sick – and that furthered their respect for the studio. Not only were the photos everything they had wished for, but they also had positive lasting memories of that day. Chao recall’s Simon climbing into a tree to scatter fall leaves over the family as the “funniest and most down-to-earth gesture from a famed photographer who was used to photographing celebrities.” Simon’s response was that “families like the Chen’s are the real celebrities, and he’s fortunate to be part of their happy memories.”