Century 21 Department Stores is planning to make a comeback.
The retail chain that filed for bankruptcy last September and closed its 13 stores toward the end of last year, including its flagship Bay Ridge location at 472 86th St., is saying online that it will be coming back to the New York metro area, although it gave no concrete details on whether this comeback would include a “brick and mortar location.”
“Never count out a New Yorker. In response to the outpouring of love from the Big Apple and the admiration of their loyal shoppers from around the world, Century 21 Stores announced they will officially relaunch the beloved institution in 2021,” the chain’s website, which is still active, announced on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
“Global expansion as well as the relaunch of the brand in New York and across the country will be announced in the coming weeks,” the announcement continues.
Although specifics haven’t been announced, many Brooklynites are hoping the chain returns to the borough, where it operated the well-known 86th Street store as well as another store at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn.
“We do not yet know if and when we will reopen a brick and mortar location in New York or the tri-state area,” said Century 21 Stores President Marc Benitez in a statement to the Eagle.
“That being said, Century 21 remains a beacon of hope for retailers and New Yorkers alike as perseverance is in our DNA. We love New York and Brooklyn and have received an outpouring of support from fans across the Manhattan area which has not gone unnoticed. We hope to be able to serve those loyal fans soon,” he said.
However, many locals have hinted at big happenings in 86th Street.
“Look for the good news on 86th Street very soon,” Patrick Condren, executive director of the 86th Street Business Improvement District (BID), told this paper.
The retail chain had been a mainstay of the 86th Street shopping strip from its opening in 1961 until it closed early last December.
“There’s about to be some good news for 86th Street,” wrote Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents the area. “Will share more details soon, but for now, get ready for a local economy comeback.
Century 21 also announced on Tuesday, Feb. 16 that it will be making its way to South Korea this fall.
“Century 21 has long been a must-go destination for tourists visiting New York from Asia,” the store stated. “Prior to the pandemic, the Gindi family [owners of the chain] had already reached a deal to bring the Century 21 brand to Korea. Now that the Gindi family continues to own the right to the Century 21 name, this deal will continue.”
Shortly before the chain closed last year, then-CEO Raymond Gindi blamed the store’s insurers its financial plight, saying in a statement that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting business woes, they “turned their backs on us at this most critical time.”