Chico Mall’s facelift

What’s now Gottschalks will soon be Forever 21

Forever 21, a mostly young-women’s clothing store, will be taking over the mammoth 81,500-square-foot anchor store left vacant when Gottschalks moves out sometime in mid-July. The move makes perfect sense, considering the company’s growth over the years.

What started out as a single store in downtown Los Angeles has turned into a colossal chain. It’s still privately run by the original owners, its manufacturing takes place right here in California, and most of its stores are in this state.

Most recently, the store has taken over a number of former Mervyns locations, trying out a larger-storefront concept.

“I’m happy they’re going to try this new concept here,” said Chris Cullen, Chico Mall’s general manager. “I don’t think that there’s a department store right now looking to expand. We were happy to hear that Forever 21 wanted to come here with one of these new stores.”

Forever 21 Marketing Manager Kirstin Nagle said by phone that the Chico store will include all its lines, from menswear to affordable couture to its most recent plus-size line and will likely open in the fall.