The iconic Fortunoff brand is making its comeback to the retail jewelry business with the opening of a new store on Long Island.
The new Fortunoff Fine Jewelry store returned to Westbury, the same area where the old Fortunoff retail chain once ran its flagship department store before it went bankrupt and closed its doors in 2009. The store, which opened last week with limited hours, will host a grand opening Sept. 18.
Esther Fortunoff, 59, granddaughter of Fortunoff founders Max and Clara Fortunoff, is spearheading the reintroduction of the Fortunoff brand and hopes to once again make it a go-to store for fine jewelry purchases. She began her more than 30-year career at Fortunoff as a teen before becoming executive vice president of the fine jewelry division.
"I am excited to get to know the next generation of Long Island customers," said Esther Fortunoff, now president of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry, who lives in the Westbury area. "I will see how it goes with customers and perhaps open another one."
She launched an e-commerce site, FortunoffJewelry.com, in 2010. The new 1,900-square-foot boutique at 1504 Old Country Road in Westbury is her first brick and mortar location. It employs 12 people and will offer more than 15 jewelry collections for women, men and children, with prices ranging from $50 to $50,000.
Fortunoff was founded in 1922 in Brooklyn, before eventually opening its flagship Westbury store in 1964. The family-run retail chain was sold twice to private equity firms and twice filed for bankruptcy protection before closing in 2009. That same year, the Fortunoff and Mayrock families purchased the intellectual property of the chain at auction, including the brand name and related trademarks.
The Fortunoff name had made its initial return to the New York area with the opening of seven Backyard Store locations in February 2010. That chain, launched by former Fortunoff executives, now has 24 locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Florida.
"Fortunoff was an institution on Long Island for the last 50 years," Esther Fortunoff said. "I wanted, in addition to the Fortunoff Backyard store, to have a presence of jewelry in our home."