LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- There's good news for bargain hunters as shoppers can once again browse the aisles of designer discounts at Century 21.
The flagship store in Lower Manhattan reopened Tuesday with shelves fully stocked at 22 Cortlandt Street.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was at the store ahead of the ribbon cutting to mark the revival of the department store that first opened in the 1960s.
The line of shoppers waiting to get in wrapped around the store outside and some shoppers said they waited for hours to be the first through the doors.
"Nowhere else like it, this is the place to be, if you are into fashion, this is the place to be," said Robert Nelson who was first in line.
Inside the store, shoppers will find four floors of deals from designers like Versace, Michael Kors, Rag and Bone and more.
And of course there is a huge selection of shoes.
"Well we have such great relationships with our vendors and we go all over the world to find the right merchandise at the right pricing that nobody else can get," said co-owner Eddie Gindi.
Gindi and his family own the store and the building. They went bankrupt after the pandemic obliterated in-store sales, but they bought the name back at auction.
Officials also said 350 workers, including 150 legacy employees, are coming back -- many of them are union jobs.
"Everybody who works here, we want them to thrive and flourish and the union is part of that," Gindi said.
But retail is not what it used to be. The pandemic wiped out other iconic department stores like Lord & Taylor and Barneys.
And the new Century 21 is scaled down. What was once a chain of 13 stores is now just one -- for now.
"We're going to focus on getting this store to be as best as it can be and then we'll see what happens going forward in the future," Gindi said.
There are surprises in store for shoppers, including a a Wheel of Deals and the first 1,000 customers get a designer tote bag.
The city comptroller's office estimates more than 5,200 city businesses shut down because of the pandemic. With the surge of Amazon and other online storefronts, the reopening of Century 21 is a rarity for department stores.
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