An expansive Chelsea store nearly terminated the 47-year old business, but an investor group will keep Gracious Home alive. With the downtown branch shuttered during a Chapter 11 reorganization, the American Flagship Retail Fund has purchased the retailer from the Wekselbaum family who founded it. The group includes a mix of real estate and retail executives including, ironically, a member of the family which founded Fortunoff, another famous local chain whose bankruptcy sale has left that company barely a shadow of its former self.
American Flagship claims to have saved 250 jobs with its purchase of the company, which is a good thing, although, when real estate interests start purchasing retailers, the value of buildings often takes precedence over the future of stores (see Bonwit Teller, B. Altman, or, rather, their absences). The bankruptcy has left Gracious Home with its original cluster of stores on upper Third Avenue and an Upper West Side location (though the closed Chelsea store is still listed on the store's website), which is not a huge trove of real estate holdings, so hopefully, the local chain will be nursed back to health rather than sold off for parts.