A Bay Ridge retail giant is calling it quits.
Department store Century 21 announced Thursday that it has filed for bankruptcy and will close its 13 stores, including its Bay Ridge location at 472 86th St. The retail chain has been a mainstay of the 86th Street shopping strip since 1961.
While there’s no official date for the store’s closure, a going-out-of-business sale will be held soon.
The company’s flagship store in lower Manhattan was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was closed for renovations for five months.
“While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, we now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time,” said Century 21 Co-CEO Raymond Gindi. “While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to COVID-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery.”
Local residents were stunned by the news and expressed concerned about the shopping area’s future.
“That’s going to take a huge bite out of the neighborhood,” said Gale Young. “Century takes up almost a half block on 86th and 87th. It will be tough to find new tenants for that much retail space.”
“I used to shop there for my sons since they were babies,” said Anna Lisa D. “I would do all my Christmas shopping there too. It’s a shame. There’s no place to buy clothes in person. Everything now is online.”