Century 21, the store where New Yorkers go to get good stuff cheap, has just filed for bankruptcy, citing an ongoing battle with their insurance company and loss of revenue from the pandemic.
Century 21 had applied for government assistance as well, but no help was forthcoming, and their insurance claim has been denied by their insurer, who insisted that their policy did not cover the pandemic.
Thousands of businesses all over the country are finding themselves in similar entanglements. The legal language involved in insurance policies and their interruption of business clauses is often vague, or in the worst cases for the businesses involved, exclusionary. Many policies specifically state that losses due to viral epidemics are not covered, according to The New York Times.
Back in April, Century 21 wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve pleading their case. They were asking for amendments to the government's lending programs for themselves and other businesses in the same predicament.
They said back then that: "In stark but not unrealistic terms, the choices government makes on program eligibility will make the difference between bright, vibrant city streets and boarded up stores for the 2020 holiday shopping season."
Vincent Quan, who works at the Fashion Institute of Technology and was a former consultant for Century 21, said, "Century 21 stores represented the quintessential New York deal."
"It was the place to go for a deal on fashion merchandise and luxury goods. Locals knew it, but tourists especially knew it and what it stood for. It was known that tourists would come in with suitcases to go shopping in the store and fill them up, go on the plane and go home."
Century 21 employs nearly 4,000 people.