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Century 21, located at the Mall at Cross County in Yonkers, is attracting customers who previously traveled to the store’s other locations in Manhattan and Queens.
Seth Harrison/lohud

Black Friday signals the start of the frenzied holiday shopping season.

While many will stay home Friday and fill their lists with online bargains, for others, the lure of certain stores is enough to get shoppers with a blackbelt in retail into their cars and in the front door, poised to buy.

Century 21 is one of those stores. 

The luxury discount department store opened its first Manhattan store over 50 years ago in the Wall Street area and quickly gained a reputation for its dizzying array of off-price designer clothes, shoes and accessories. Many a fashionista in the making spent their formative years here prowling through overstuffed racks for that diamond in the rough: a $1,000 Theory jacket marked down to $299, or a pair of designer heels for less than $100.

Its newly opened Yonkers store in the Mall at Cross County — it’s the 13th in the U.S. — brings the buzz that city dwellers and international visitors looking for unique fashion at bargain prices have come to love.

A week after its October grand opening, it was obvious that shoppers from all over the Lower Hudson Valley had found their way to Yonkers.

On a Friday morning, the store was crowded, with mostly female shoppers browsing the spacious clothing racks, combing through a mix of different fashions for all ages.

Even though it was early, there were single browsers, married couples and even some families looking for early holiday finds in departments dedicated to clothing, toys and home goods.

“Everything is big and seems organized,” said Carmen Ayala of Pelham Bay Park. “They have reasonable prices so this is perfect.” 

Ayala was checking out clothing, handbags and watches, in particular, and liked the new Yonkers location, something echoed by other shoppers in the bustling store.

The 70,000-square-foot, two-level space features luxury merchandise and mid-range items ranging from accessories to sportswear. “It’s the breadth of assortment we are know for,” said Larry Mentzer, the chief revenue officer of Century 21.

On a Friday visit, the high traffic areas were accessories — including handbags — and electronics. 

It may be considered “discount,” but it’s not cheap.

Shoppers can expect to find pricey tech gadgets and $100 designer sunglasses. There are Gucci and Longchamp handbags under glass counters and $69 Missoni designer scarves.

But shoppers don’t seem to mind.

“It’s really beautiful and convenient where it’s located. It’s brand new and has clothing for an affordable price,” said Pamela Vega of Yonkers.

Melisa Lamar-Vanterpool of the Bronx had her eye on a pair of black and grey suede boots. “I really like Century 21 because their shoes are great prices,” said Lamar-Vanterpool. “They really have great prices on shoes and bags.”

New vision for an old brand

Unlike the cramped, original quarters of the Wall Street location, staff members say the Yonkers store is the new vision for their stores.

The new model is about ensuring customers get maximum space to shop with clear categories marked overhead in the different departments spread over two levels. Wide open space that is brightly lit with merchandise categories plainly marked add to the ease of shopping for customers.

So shoppers in Yonkers can expect to do less digging for those one-of a-kind items.

And that might mean less fun or optimum pricing.

Just don’t expect fancy displays;  it is still clearly about the hunt for great finds and fashion forward shoppers will still find the latest styles and trends.

Candida Pinto of Yonkers hailed the new store as a great place to buy outfits for her granddaughter. “There’s plenty a variety of stuff, so if I find anything that I like I go ahead and buy it,” she said.

Century 21’s Larry Mentzer said shoes, fragrances, home items and European apparel especially for men is popular here.

“We’ve got great fashion for men;  you’re not going to find just a pair of jeans,” Mentzer said.

The convenient location at the Mall at Cross County make it a comfortable fit for shoppers like Pamela Vega.

“That’s the main reason I thought let me come here and take a look and see what I can find, a good sale especially for the holidays.”

Twitter: @krhudsonvalley

If you go

What: Century 21 

Where: Mall at Cross County, 750 Central Park Ave., Yonkers 

Info: 914-969-1212,  http://locations.c21stores.com/en/cross-county

 

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