Century 21 (department store)

Last updated
Century 21 Department Stores LLC
Type Private
Industry Retail
Founded1961(60 years ago) (1961)
DefunctDecember 6, 2020;4 months ago (2020-12-06)
Fate Chapter 11 bankruptcy liquidation
Number of locations
13 (Manhattan, NY, [1] Brooklyn, NY, Westbury, NY, Morristown, NJ, Paramus, NJ, Queens, NY, Upper West Side, Elizabeth, NJ, Pittsburgh, PA, Philadelphia, PA, Sunrise, FL, Staten Island, NY and Yonkers, NY)
Key people
Raymond Gindi, CEO
ProductsClothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.
Revenue≈$747 million [2]  (2019)
OwnerGindi family
Website c21stores.com

Century 21 Department Stores LLC is an American chain of department stores with 13 locations in the northeastern United States, headquartered in New York City.


Early years

Inside Century 21 Inside Century 21.JPG
Inside Century 21

The company was founded in 1961, by Sonny Gindi, Ralph Gindi, and Al Gindi. [3] The original store is located at 472 86th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Founder Al Gindi's son, Raymond Gindi, currently serves as Century 21's chief operating officer. [4]

The Century 21 flagship location is at 22 Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America. It occupies the base of a 34-story office tower, and it has recently added a Financier Patisserie coffee shop to its third floor. [5] The store became an emotional flashpoint during and after the September 11 attacks. The store was evacuated after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and the interior was significantly damaged from the collapse of the Twin Towers. Initially, it was not certain that the store would be rebuilt, but the owners opted to remain at the same site and the store was renovated and reopened on February 28, 2002, five months after the attacks. Thousands of people waited hours on the morning of the reopening so they could have a sales receipt from that day. [6] [7]

Expansion outside of New York City

The firm opened its first location outside of the greater New York metropolitan area in October 2014. Housed on two floors of the former Strawbridge's flagship on Market Street in Center City, Philadelphia. [8] [9]

The company expanded in 2016, opening at Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida and a Pittsburgh-based two-level flagship store in Downtown area of Pittsburgh. [10]

Further expansion

In March 2016, Century 21 announced that it would open a flagship location at American Dream, that was scheduled to open on Thursday, March 19th, 2020 but got pushed all the way back to Thursday, October 1 2020 due to New Jersey State government restrictions that closed all non-essential retail. [11] [12]


On Thursday September 10, 2020, Century 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as a result of insurance companies failing to financially support the chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. It plans to close all of its stores. [2] [13] [14] Because Century 21 filed for bankruptcy, the American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey location never opened and is now abandoned. [15]

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  1. The New York Times articles linking Century 21 to the World Trade Center
  2. 1 2 Fickenscher, Lisa (2020-09-10). "Fashion retailer Century 21 files for bankruptcy, to shut all stores by Monday, November 30th, 2020". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  3. Jewish Voice New York: "Sonny Gindi, Founder of Century 21 Department Store, Dies at 88" By Fern Sidman Archived June 20, 2012
  4. Will buyers flock to Philadelphia's Century 21? Archived Elizabeth Wellington. Philadelphia Inquirer. April 30, 2014.
  5. "Tribeca Citizen | Century 21 adds a Financier coffee shop". Tribeca Citizen. Retrieved 2020-02-25.
  6. The New York Times "A Beloved Store Was a Casualty Too" October 14, 2001
  7. The New York Times "Century 21, A Downtown Fixture, Reopens to Cheers" March 1, 2002
  8. Shoppers check out Century 21, new Center City department store Archived. Erin Arvedlund. Philadelphia Inquirer. October 25, 2014.
  9. "Around 450 stores, restaurants and places to play will (eventually) fill this massive N.J. mall: What are they?". pennlive. 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2020-02-21.
  10. "Century 21 Department Store Brings Designer Brands At Amazing Prices To The Sunshine State". www.prnewswire.com (Press release). Century 21 Department Store.
  11. Hargrove, Channing (2016-03-02). "Century 21 Is the Newest American Dream Mall Confirmed Tenant". Racked NY. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  12. NJ.com, Allison Pries | NJ Advance Media for (2020-08-29). "When American Dream reopens, these 17 stores will be ready to debut". nj. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  13. Department Store Century 21 Files Bankruptcy, Will Shut Down Archived Bloomberg. 10 September 2020.
  14. "New York says goodbye to Century 21". Financial Times. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  15. Fickenscher, Lisa (2020-09-10). "Fashion retailer Century 21 files for bankruptcy, to shut all stores". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2020-10-06.