Top 10 Stores From Your Childhood That Don't Exist Anymore



Top 10 Stores From Your Childhood That Don't Exist Anymore

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
We can't believe these childhood stores don't exist anymore. For this list, we'll be ranking the iconic stores you visited as a kid that aren't around anymore. Our countdown includes Radio Shack, Club Libby Lu, Toys "R" Us, and more!

Top 10 Stores From Your Childhood That Don't Exist Anymore

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stores from Your Childhood That Don’t Exist Anymore.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the iconic stores you visited as a kid that aren’t around anymore.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Waldenbooks

Not every retail chain possesses a history that’s as heartwarming as Waldenbooks. Picture it: you’re struggling through a post-Great Depression America, and you notice a makeshift library subletting within a department store. That was the origin behind Waldenbooks, a lending venture founded by Lawrence Hoyt and Melvin Kafka. It was a means to help lift the spirits of those affected by the Depression. Eventually, it went on to become a retail fixture within malls all across the country. Waldenbooks and their expansion stores sold books, software…even Dungeons & Dragon paraphernalia, but a merger with Borders eventually led to liquidation in 2011. All the Waldenbooks locations were shuttered shortly thereafter.

#9: Radio Shack

The electronics giant known as Radio Shack still exists in a certain form, but definitely not in the way most of us remember. The corporation operates as an online presence, even partnering with Amazon to sell there with a virtual storefront. However, it’s not the mall-centric storefront destination for PC components, Walkmans or radio-controlled cars that most of us knew and loved. Believe it or not, close to four hundred retail Radio Shacks do still exist, but they’re technically not a part of their parent company and operate independently.

#8: Gadzooks

We all have a myriad of options out there when it comes to clothing retailers, with all of them fighting for our brand loyalty on a daily basis. Gadzooks was a clothing store for teens and tweens that operated largely in malls. It was popular but struggled to keep its identity profitable. Generally speaking, the company did well … although a shift in 2003 to focus solely on sixteen- to twenty-two-year-old girls didn’t do Gadzooks any favors. They were eventually bought out by Forever 21. Shortly thereafter, Gadzooks was gone from the cultural landscape.

#7: K-B Toys

Ah, is there anything more nostalgic than an old school toy store? No, not that one. We’ll get to the giraffe later. For now, we’re focusing on another retail giant: K-B Toys. These guys were the number two toy retailer for many years. It was a place of joy for thousands of kids throughout the seventies, eighties and beyond. K-B actually started out selling candy, but soon shifted focus in the late sixties to hit the toy market running. Nothing lasts forever, of course. Slumping sales eventually led to multiple bankruptcies and eventual acquisition by Toys ‘R Us. There were plans in the late 2010s for another go at it, but as of writing, K-B Toys remains a bygone memory.

#6: The Discovery Channel Store

The Discovery Channel — you know it, you love it, you can’t live without Shark Week. But what about visiting it in a mall? Well, this was the idea behind The Discovery Channel Store, a chain of storefronts that sold educational gadgets, software and toys that tied into the Channel’s content. It was a profitable business for a while, at one point operating twenty-plus franchisees in the United States. The Discovery Channel eventually dropped its support for the stores in 2007, shuttering all retail locations apart from those located in airport terminals. However, the online store is still operational, and ready to serve your needs for knowledge!

#5: Club Libby Lu

The next store on our list was definitely a unique, outside-the-box approach to an immersive retail experience. In the early 2000s, Club Libby Lu sold varying package deals for a day of fun and royal treatment to make kids feel like a princess for a day. These packages included hair and makeup, friendship bracelets, stuffed animals and even some arts and crafts! The store is named after a childhood imaginary friend of their founder, Mary Drolet. The brand eventually grew to almost a hundred locations. However, the 2008 financial crisis took a toll on Club Libby Lu, with all locations being closed down by its parent company, Saks.

#4: Sam Goody

Sam Goody was a chain of record stores that also serviced video game fans and movie buffs. Part of the store’s popularity was due to the staff, who were fans themselves. A knowledge of music history was actually part of the job requirement. This became a place where many music fans chose to hang out, especially those who didn’t have a local independent shop in town. Sam Goody himself sold the company in 1978, and it changed hands multiple times before becoming a part of the FYE brand in 2008. Two Sam Goody locations do actually still exist, albeit as SG/FYE hybrids in Ohio and Oregon-based malls.

#3: Limited Too

Call it “Too, Inc.”, “Limited, Too, Inc.”, or just “Limited Too”. At one point, this youth clothing retailer was everywhere. The brand started out as an extension of the women’s clothing store called The Limited. Limited Too decided to focus exclusively on girls ages five to fifteen. The brand did suffer its share of criticism from those who objected to the alleged “vanity sizing” at their locations. But this didn’t stop Limited Too from being profitable…at least for a while. The storefronts were all converted into Justice locations. Although Limited Too does still sell online at Amazon.

#2: Toys “R” Us

Who wants to grow up? Not us, because we’ll always be Toys “R” Us kids! In 2017, it was announced that Toys “R” Us would be filing for bankruptcy and closing all of its stores in the UK and USA. Although this meant that Toys “R” Us wouldn’t be gone for good, it did mean the end of an era for many families who grew up with Geoffrey the Giraffe. However, pop-ups bearing Geoffrey’s name debuted in certain Kroger grocery stores. And four-hundred locations are set to pop-up in Macy’s in 2022. That said, the “classic” era of Toys “R” Us is still very much behind us.

Before we name our number one pick, here are some honorable mentions!

Circuit City
Now a Home for Your Local Spirit Halloween

Steve and Barry’s
Once the Home of Exclusive Clothing Lines from SJP & Amanda Bynes

Media Play
Long Live Physical Media!

The Sharper Image
Tech, Tech, & More Tech

Zany Brainy
For Toys with a More Educational Bent

#1: Blockbuster

One solitary Blockbuster Video, located in Bend, Oregon, is all that’s left of this once pervasive video rental giant. In fact, “The Last Blockbuster” was even the subject of its own documentary in 2020. These days the idea of renting a movie is seen by some as a quaint and antiquated practice. But for years, Blockbuster capitalized on the home video boom of the 1980s, becoming the place where many families went for movie night. The decline of physical media, the rise of streaming and Netflix’s dominance, and the home entertainment market essentially ran Blockbuster out of town. Only the Bend location stands to remind tourists and locals of what was once an iconic part of cinephile culture.