7 toy stores you will never shop at again
Turn that frown upside down with a trip back to Kiddie City, K•B, Child World and more.
Was there a better feeling than when mom took you into the toy store at the mall? No matter the season, it was suddenly Christmas. After all, you earned it after watching her try on dresses at Casual Corner for an hour.
These days, toy stores at the mall are about as rare as record stores at the mall. Major chains have gone extinct as beloved mascots like Peter Panda and Kaycee Kangaroo have joined the dinosaurs.
Let's take a look at some of the defunct toy retailers of yesteryear. Where was your favorite place to shop for action figures, dolls and board games?
1. Circus World
Naturally, a clown was the mascot of this chain, which was eventually swallowed up by K•B Toys. The one seen here was in the Century III Mall in the Pittsburgh area.
Image: C3Nostalgia / Flickr
2. Child World
With its castle-like crenellations, Child World loomed over parking lots like a fortress. In 1975, the giant bought the Children's Palace chain, becoming the second largest toy retailers behind Toys "R" Us. However, by the early '90s, Child World was desperately trying to stay alive. Alas, Happy Rabbit and his store went the way of the dodo.
3. F.A.O. Schwarz
Few fantasy factories have held quite the mystique of this chain. It had something to do with its flagship store on Fifth Avenue, a Manhattan tourist attraction for years, not to mention its history. F.A.O. could trace its roots all the way back to 1862. The flagship store closed down just last year.
Image: AP Photo/Anthony Camerano
4. 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.
Image: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
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5. Lionel Kiddie City
The Lionel Corporation began its life at the start of the 20th century. Primarly known for its trains, the toy titan branched out into retail stores in the 1960s with Kiddie City. The commercials promised to "turn that frown upside down" with the help its hopping kangaroo mascots, Kaycee and Baby.
6. Lionel Playworld
Lionel also operated many stores under the name Playworld. Which did you have in your hometown?
7. Zany Brainy
A relative latecomer to the game, Zany Brainy took a more educational stance with its puzzles and games. Lasting a mere decade, from 1991 to 2001, the chain was owned by F.A.O. Schwarz. All of these chains seem to be connected in some way. Zany Brainy acquired the similar and shorter-lived Noodle Kidoodle before going under.
Image: AP Photo/Dan Loh
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