Merchant Stores had a large hydraulic press that it used to compress cotton bales. In 1891, people complained that when "exhaust steam was blown off it made a noise that sounded like a cross between the bellow of a bull and the scream of a tiger cat, which could be easily heard two miles." The press ran day and night, infuriating the nearby residents. The complaints about the noise eventually attracted the attention of the Board of Health, which suppressed it.
Merchant Stores was located at Piers 40 and 41 at the foot of Coffey Street.