Stores come and go, but there are some stores you never forget. These retailers bring back fond memories from childhood and just hearing the store’s name causes you to reminisce about happy times spent with family and friends. You might see an old product or commercial that makes those warm memories come flooding back.
Here are 15 favorite stores we wish would come back from the dead.
1. Fayva shoe stores
The tagline for Fayva shoe stores was “you’ll go far in Fayvas.” Their shoes might have been sturdy, but the store didn’t go very far. Fayva was a favorite among parents looking for inexpensive shoes for the family. If you had a big day at school or a holiday event, chances are, Fayva was the place your parents went to purchase shoes. Morse Shoe Inc., which operated Fayva, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991.
Next: This store was the place for children’s shoes.
2. Buster Brown
Another favorite shoe store that is no longer with us is Buster Brown. This was also the place to go whenever a member of the family needed a pair of shoes. In 2015, the company was rebranded and is now called Caleres. Other brands within the Caleres family include Naturalizer and Dr. Scholl’s Shoes. Fashion brands are also under the company’s umbrella, including Sam Edelman, Via Spiga, and Diane von Furstenberg.
Next: This store was a mall staple.
3. Sam Goody
Back in the day, when you wanted to buy music or browse the latest movies, you would head on over to Sam Goody. The store was most popular in the 80s and 90s, but its popularity eventually waned. The store was purchased by Best Buy in 2000, and then sold to Sun Capital in 2003. After a bankruptcy filing, most of the stores were shut down. The last Sam Goody store was located in San Diego and closed for good in 2012. The remaining Sam Goody stores were eventually converted into FYE stores.
Next: This store was a family favorite.
4. Howard Johnson’s restaurants
Howard Johnson’s restaurants used to be the go-to spot for a quick family dinner. The Economist reports Howard Johnson’s was at the top of its game in the 1970s, with more than 1,000 restaurants. At the time, it was the biggest food chain in America. The very last Howard Johnson’s location is located in Lake George, New York. Sadly, the restaurant chain’s legacy might go down in a blaze of scandal. NBC News reports the location’s owner, Jonathan LaRock, was arrested on charges of sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Next: This department store had everything you could ever need for your home at a great price.
Bradlees was a department store chain that offered discounted clothing and household items. The first store opened in New London, Connecticut in 1958. It was later acquired by grocery chain Stop & Shop in 1961, which owned Bradlees until 1992. However, over time, the stores ran into financial trouble. In 1996, it closed 12 stores. The chain went bankrupt in 2000 and all stores were closed by 2001.
Next: This store specialized in unique tech gadgets.
6. The Sharper Image
The Sharper Image used to be a digital one-stop shop for unique tech gadgets. The company first opened its doors in 1977 in San Francisco, California. Eventually, the retailer fell on hard times and filed for bankruptcy in 2008, closing all its stores. The store now operates online. A physical store did open in New York recently, but it’s only temporary. It’s a pop-up shop, although it’s not connected directly with SharperImage.com.
Next: This store had the latest fashions for kids.
7. Kids “R” Us
If you were crazy about Toys “R” Us, you likely begged your parents to take you to Kids “R” Us as well. Toys “R” Us expanded to form Kids “R” Us, which was a division of the toy store that used to sell children’s clothing. Their first locations opened in 1983 in Paramus, New Jersey, and in Brooklyn, New York. However, the clothing chain went out of business in 2003.
Next: This toy store closed its doors after more than 145 years.
8. FAO Schwarz
Another popular destination for kids that disappeared is FAO Schwarz. The toy retailer was so popular, in fact, that a famous scene from Tom Hanks’s movie, Big, was shot at the store. FAO Schwarz first opened in 1870, and had been a top tourist spot in New York City for more than 145 years. At one point, the store had 40 stores nationwide, but the Fifth Avenue location in New York City was the last remaining location.
Next: This shoe store was popular in the 80s and 90s.
9. Thom McAn
One of the top shoe retailers in the United States was Thom McAn. The very first Thom McAn retail store opened in New York in 1922. By 1927, the retailer had grown to more than 300 stores. By the end of 1990, there were 7,754 stores and sales were roughly $8.68 billion. Unfortunately, by 1992, Thom McAn hit a rough patch and began closing stores. Although the physical stores no longer exist, the brand is still sold at retailers such as Sears and Kmart.
Next: This store made discount chains popular.
Woolworth is one retailer many people thought would never go out of business. The first Woolworth store opened in 1878 in New York. It was considered one of the pioneers of discount stores. It was also the first brand to go global, with more than 5,000 stores across the globe, according to the Woolworths Museum. The store’s original name was “Woolworth’s Great Five Cent Store,” and it quickly became popular among customers looking for a good deal. However, as customers became enchanted by the quicker checkout and lower prices at stores such as Walmart and Target, Woolworth slowly faded into the background. The stores closed in 1997.
Next: Book lovers couldn’t stay out of this store.
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Bookworms everywhere flocked to Waldenbooks. It was a staple at many shopping malls across America. Waldenbooks first opened its doors in March 1933 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The store eventually branched out and began operating a video game and software chain called Waldensoftware. It also had a children’s educational chain called Walden Kids. All Waldenbooks stores closed in 2011.
Next: It was hard to beat the prices at this store.
12. Crazy Eddie
Electronics store Crazy Eddie was the place to go for all things related to home electronics. If you wanted a great deal on a television or some other home gadget, you could get the best prices here. The company was founded in 1971 in Brooklyn, New York. It later went public in 1984. However, federal prosecutors began investigating the chain’s founder, Eddie Antar, for manipulating stocks. The New Yorker reports Antar disappeared for five months in 1987. During that time, the company’s profits plummeted 90%. In 1989, the company declared bankruptcy and closed all stores. In 1997 Antar was sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud.
Next: Fierce competition put this store out of business.
13. Tower Records
Music store Tower Records first opened in 1960 in Sacramento, California. The store was the destination for all things music. It was often a place where musical artists would visit to promote their albums and customers would linger in the aisles to explore the store’s massive music collection. In his article for Cuepoint, writer David Chiu said the Tower Records experience was like going to church. However, as music became more available online, consumers saw less of a need to go into a physical record store. After more than 40 years in business, Tower Records declared bankruptcy and closed its doors in 2006.
Next: This store was known for plus-size fashions.
14. Fashion Bug
Clothing store Fashion Bug used to be the spot for plus-sized fashion. It could often be seen in many malls. The first store opened during the 1960s in Audubon, New Jersey. During the 1970s and 1980s it became one of the first stores to have computerized registers. During this time and into the 1990s, the retailer saw rapid expansion. Unfortunately, sales started to slow down and the store experienced a financial downturn. In 2002, Fashion Bug began closing some of its stores and converting the remaining stores to Lane Bryant, another popular plus-size retailer.
Next: This retailer tried to be like the Disney Store.
15. Warner Brothers Studio store
The Warner Brothers Studio store was a chain of stores that sold merchandise based on Warner Brothers films. The concept was similar to the Disney Store. The first Warner Brothers Studio store opened back in 1991. However, by 2001 all of the Warner Brothers stores were closed.
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