12 more extinct mall stores you will never shop at again
Take a tour through a shopping mall of the past.
Image: AP Photo/Jim Mone
Shopping malls are an endangered species. Once the massive T. Rex of American retail, the indoor shopping mall has been struggling to survive after the massive meteor strike of e-commerce. Dozens of chains that once stretched from coast to coast have gone extinct.
As kids, the mall was our movie theater, our watering hole, our recreation center, our gathering site, our wardrobe. We pumped quarters into arcade games while sipping Orange Julius. We kept up with the latest fashions at Chess King and Contempo Casuals.
Previously, we took a look at 13 defunct mall stores. Now, it's time to strap on a pair of Jox sneakers and again go mall-walking back in time.
Here are a dozen more mall staples you'll have to live without.
1. Aladdin's Castle
There were easier ways to lose money at the mall than the record store. You could spend hours trying to beat Donkey Kong in Aladdin's Castle. The chain of arcades rode the wave of coin-op video games, but faded away thanks to home consoles. We can still hear the 8-bit din.
2. Dora Dale
It's hard to find much on this old school women's clothing retailer, which catered to plus-sizes. In the 1980s, it also capitalized on the mall-walking trend, offering discounts to those trotting around the atriums.
3. Egghead Software
The self-proclaimed "North America's Software Eggsperts" were fond of egg puns, and featured a mascot, Professor Egghead, who looked like Albert Einstein — but an egg. Naturally. This was the spot to upgrade your PC in the 1980s.
4. Fashion Bug
As the company's toll-free number, 1-800-FB-FITS-U, implied, Fashion Bug offered a wide range of sizes for all women. The shorts in this 1980s ad would go well with some Fruit Stripe gum.
Image: indicustom / Tumblr
This women's casual clothing chain had 225 locations as of 1990, when it was sucked up by the Edison Brothers Stores conglomerate, who also operated J. Riggings, a menswear joint below. It was a hot spot for teens in the '70s and '80s, with a name that sounded a little more upscale than, say, "Fashion Bug."
Image: Katie Balamucki / Pinterest
6. Hot Sam Pretzels
Time for a bite to eat! Auntie Ann's may have cornered the market in twisted bread, but back in the day we liked to nosh on some Hot Sam. Over time, the brand was converted to the Pretzel Time name.
7. J. Riggings
As mentioned above, the Edison's corporation absorbed this struggling chain in 1987 and gave it life for another decade or so. As the tag touted, J. Riggings sportswear was established in 1969.
8. K•B Toys
Formerly known as Kay Bee Toys, this chain ruled the indoor mall scene. In fact, the company once branded itself with the simple slogan "The Toy Store in the Mall." In 2009, K•B was liquidated as its remains were gobbled up by Toys "R" Us like Pac-Man. Check out 6 more toy stores you will never shop at again.
Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
9. Thom McAn
The Thom McAn brand still survives on Sears and Kmart shoe racks, but the name was once a thriving brand of stand-alone shops. Odds are, if you grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, your parents got you some footwear at McAn. It's own brand of Jox sneakers, which looked a bit like Onitsuka Tigers minus a stripe, were pretty cool in hindsight. We'd love a vintage pair now.
What hath you wrought, Kindle? E-readers have mortally wounded chain bookstores — a business that never had great margins to begin with. Waldenbooks were around for most of us before Barnes & Noble pulled into town. Remember when you could get a paperback for a few bucks?
Image: Mike Kalasnik / Flickr
This teen girl hotspot is another ghost on the internet, though you can see it listed on the directory with Dora Dale above. "Weathervane, which features its own brand label, expanded quickly in the '90s, selling value-priced clothing aimed at women. The company changed its focus to the teen market in 1996-97. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 1998, shrank from 104 to about 50 locations, and emerged in 1999 with significant ownership by outside investors." So said a Hartford Courant article from 2004.
12. Ups N Downs
Hardly a name to inspire confidence in investors, no?
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