In 2019 I made the decision to start a YouTube channel with the intent to document dead and dying retail chains. But why did I ever do that? The answer is simple, a great amount of dead or dying retail chains played a big part in my childhood. I may be only 16 at the time I’m writing about my reasons for starting Tom’s Terrific Retales, but I’ve seen a handful of stores close that I used to shop at all the time.
One of these stores that played a major part in my childhood was KB (also known as Kaybee) Toys. When I was little I would visit a couple of KB Toys locations fairly often and got some toys there. I usually got a little figure of characters from Mario games such as the Bullet Bill and Mario himself. These figures were only a couple inches tall but I remember being a bit upset when I found out KB Toys was closed forever. They closed when I was 4 years old.
A store that my family absolutely frequented when I was little is the Kmart Supercenter located in Medina, Ohio. We used to do most of our grocery shopping at Super Kmart when I was little. I remember the store very well, the left entrance was for the groceries and restaurant while the right entrance was by electronics. Near the store was a Walmart and a Target. These two stores (at the time) did not offer groceries as both were using a department store format. I remember going to this Super Kmart and purchasing Super Mario All Stars when Nintendo released the game on the Wii for Mario’s 25th Anniversary. I can also recall visiting the store on Black Friday a few times after going to the Target across the road. Unfortunately for me, the Medina Kmart Supercenter would be turned into a regular Kmart in 2011 before closing permanently in 2012. The store has been used as Spirit Halloween a few times (last used as Spirit in 2017 before they relocated to the former MC Sports down the road). When the store closed I remember my only thoughts being, “Where did the little Kmart go?” Ironically, I called Super Kmart by the name of “Little Kmart” because of how their Kmart logo was smaller than the sign on the Big Kmart in Brunswick, Ohio.
I suppose that’s a good segway into the next store I’m going to speak about which is Big Kmart store 3286 in Brunswick, Ohio. The store was my local store which we used to also shop at fairly often when I was little. We didn’t shop here as much as the Medina Kmart but we did shop here enough for the store to be significant to me. In 2014 I remember getting Mariokart 8 at this location as well as a Chuck E. Cheese game on the Wii. I had intentions to apply for a job at this store before it was announced in August 2019 that the location was on the chopping block. Throughout the liquidation sales I made many visits to the store until their final day. The store had only two or three aisles left and a bunch of fixtures for sale otherwise. The store looked nothing like it did four months earlier with stocked shelves throughout the store. I was not present for their final announcement unfortunately but I was able to make a final visit to the store and get a few pieces of memorabilia from the location. Marc’s will be relocating to this Kmart from next door by Spring 2021 if their current plans are successful. For those unfamiliar with Marc’s, they are like a Big Lots with more focus on groceries. They have a decent amount of toys and other items but they have lots of grocery items.
One more retail chain to bring up is Toys R Us. I don’t have to say much about them, I’m pretty sure at least 80 percent of people shopped there once as a kid. My family used to visit locations in North Olmsted, Parma, and Fairlawn when we would be in the area. All three stores lasted until they closed due to bankruptcy in June 2018. The Fairlawn location was used as Spirit Halloween in 2020, the North Olmsted location is becoming a storage facility, and the Parma store currently sits vacant as of when I’m writing this post. Below are a few images of shopping baskets from Toys R Us AND Babies R Us that I got from my friends.
These experiences are only a few I have with dead retail chains from when I was a kid. If I wrote out more of them I’d likely have a post that would take a long time to read through which I wish to avoid for the sake of those reading. Now that all of you know why I’m fascinated with dead retail, why are YOU fascinated with dead retail? Please consider leave a comment telling me about your interests in dead retail. I’d love to get to learn about my viewers and what interested them in dead retail.