Some news on the status of 97-year-old Zell Brothers in Portland, which press accounts say is scheduled to close:
Harsch Investment Properties, Zell’s landlord in Portland, has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Finlay, Zell’s owner, asking it to fulfill its obligation to move Zell to a new storefront across the street. The store is currently in temporary quarters.
“This lawsuit is friendly,” Jordan Schnitzer, Harsch’s president, told me. “We are just doing this to protect ourselves. We worked with Finlay for a year and a half. They are currently a viable company with an obligation they need to fulfill. We look forward to working with them.”
He adds that the best case scenario would be for the business to remain open: “I grew up with the Zell family. Like everyone in Portland, I have a soft spot in my heart for this business.”
Leonard Zell, the noted sales trainer and member of the founding family, says several buyers have expressed interest in buying it – but rules out purchasing the store himself. “I would love to get into retail again but it doesn’t make sense for me at this stage of the game,” he says.
Interesting fact: Zell is the only store in the Baileys chain to not carry a Baileys nameplate.
Finlay declines comment on which stores it is closing, but says it is at least 40.