The demise of the late, great Toys ‘R’ Us has left a void for brick-and-mortar purveyors of all things innocent and fun that one throwback name brand evidently thinks it can fill. And for online-averse toy buyers who like to behold the merchandise up close and personal before walking their shiny new toy treasure to the cash register, they may just be onto something.
Somewhere between Spencer Gifts and the Orange Julius, onetime mall staple KB Toys is apparently rising like a fiery phoenix to claim the retail space left newly vacant by the Toys ‘R’ Us vacuum. Only days after Toys ‘R’ Us announced it’s shuttering all 735 of its U.S. locations, retro-revival entrepreneur Ellia Kassoff has revealed his company, Strategic Marks LLC, plans to give KB Toys a well-timed reboot.
Kassoff told CNN Money that Strategic Marks intends to open at least 1,000 pop-up KB Toy stores by the end of 2018, only a year after first acquiring the brand from — wait for it — Toys ‘R’ Us itself.
"My assumption is that there's about half a billion dollars worth of toys that have been produced for Toys "R" Us with no place to go," Kassoff explained. "That's a big, big void that we're hoping to fill up.”
The idea behind using the pop-up model is to hit the ground running, with Kassoff telling CNN Money that Strategic Marks is collaborating with companies like Spencer and Party City — “companies that know how to do it, they have a methodology, they're used to rolling out stuff real quickly.”
Toy fans and mall walkers of a certain age remember a time when KB Toys was as much a part of retail culture as…well, as Toys ‘R’ Us. At its height, KB Toys actually had 1,300 retail stores — 500 more than Toys ‘R’ Us at the time of the shutdown. KB Toys went out business under its own name in 2009, allowing Toys ‘R’ Us to swoop in and pick up its branding assets.
Now that KB Toys appears to be coming full circle, we’re wondering whether it’ll soon become the ubiquitous mall beacon it once was for generations of now-nostalgic toy lovers. SYFY WIRE has reached out to Kassoff for comment, and will update with any additional information we receive.