New York – They’re b-a-a-a-c-k.
J&R Music & Computer World, the iconic New York CE dealer that shut its showroom and website this spring, is returning to Lower Manhattan as a standalone boutique within a discount department store.
The J&R Express shop, to be located on the lower level of a Century 21 store, will be about 1,500 square feet in size and feature a curated selection of portable CE, computer products, music, movies and vinyl.
The shop, which revives a similar format that J&R operated within Macy’s Herald Square, is expected to open this October in time for the holiday selling season. It promises to reprise its tradition of in-store music performances and celebrity meet-and-greets.
Explained J&R principal Rachelle Friedman, “While we are re-developing the block and planning the future of Park Row, we wanted to answer the demand and outcry of support for J&R to remain a fixture of Lower Manhattan.”
She added: “We thought of no better way than partnering with what former Mayor Rudy Giuliani after 9/11 called our fellow ‘anchor of downtown retail,’ Century 21.”
Indeed, the department store, a long-time neighbor of J&R’s, was located down the street from the World Trade Center and suffered damage from the collapse of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
The flagship store is one of five locations in the New York metro area and carries discounted designer apparel, cosmetics and home goods.
“As a fellow Lower Manhattan retailer, we’ve always been familiar with and appreciated all J&R has done for our neighborhood,” said Raymond Gindi, CEO of the 53-year-old chain. “We’re honored to bring on New York City’s iconic electronics retailer as part of our Century 21 family and look forward to expanding our partnership to other areas of Manhattan.”
J&R closed shop in April after 43 years in business for what it described as “a conceptual overhaul” that is part of a real estate development project. The privately held dealer had been battered in recent years by online competition, rampant CE discounting, and a dramatic drop in foot traffic in the wake of 9/11.