russlyman's Blog

Posted on Oct 6th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (russlyman)
Posted under 90s stores

Department stores that have been forgotten to the past and closed down. Lots of these department stores and retail outlets have lots of fond memories for us adults now. Growing up and going to some of these stores like Circuit City, Toys R Us, Caldor, and more, bring back a different time. Now that they no longer exist we cherish these memories of browsing their aisle stacked with toys, video games, board games and much more!

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I was just in a Toys R Us yesterday, I can vouch that they still most definitely exist Smiley
@Link41: Oh sure, you still have Toys-R-Us up there, but Target just wasn't good enough for you, was it?!

ANYway, I can't say I miss Caldor, since they never made it out here before going kaput. I also can't say I really miss Service Merchandise all that much... not as a so-called adult, anyway. My ten-year-old self, on the other hand, thought the conveyor belt deal was just the peachy-keenest thing EVAR, back when I was completing my G1 TransFormers Constructicon set. Each month I'd save up my allowance and head off to the local Ess-Emm to get one more piece of Devastator. Those were the six most suspenseful months in my  life, lemme tell ya.

And boy, do I remember the claim cards for computer and console video games back in the 80s and early 90s... and it was the way just about every major retailer sold software and vidyas back in the day, not just TRU and Service Merchandise. Plenty of defunct retailers like Montgomery Ward and Best (a general merchandise store, no relation to Best Buy) did it, as did soon-to-be-defunct Sears and K-Mart.

Sadly, I was never all that impressed with Circuit City, at least not with any of the stores in my area. Best Buy was a lot less cramped, and felt a lot more inviting. A former Circuit City being converted into a Savers thrift is a big improvement as far as I'm concerned. But then, I'm a thrifting fiend, so I miiiiight be a little bit biased...

I hear you about all the smaller-scale music-&-video stores that you'd often see in malls. My area had Sam Goody, Musicland, the aforementioned Suncoast (Screech sucks), Camelot, and hybrid media store/video rental store The Wherehouse. BTW none of the Suncoasts in my area stocked really explicit adult entertainment; at worst, they peddled stuff you could catch on Skinemax at 2 in the morning.

I totally dug Radio Shack as a kid, too...and I'm talking the 80's and early 90's here. It's where I got one of my all-time favorite LCD handhelds, "Plane and Tank." I also got an RC outlaw racer thingy, a Science Fair 300-in-1 electronic experiments kit, and this really neat portable electronic chess board. In my earlier adult years, I'd go there to grab a few electronic parts I'd need for repairs. Eventually, however, Radio Shack would have less and less in-store of what I was looking for, forcing me to take much of my business to the local Fry's Electronics superstore. Sadly, it looks like Fry's might soon join Radio Shack in retail oblivion, if the nearly barren aisles are any indication.

14:40 TRANSFORMERS, YOU SAY?! I AM SOOO THERE-- oh, right... out of business, never mind. But at least I have fond memories of the nearest Tys-R-Us to me when I was a kid. Of course, I'm talking about the haunted TRU in Sunnyvale, Ca. Thanks to its reputation, this particular store was featured in such late-70's/early-'80s documentary shows as "That's Incredible!" and "In Search Of...," the latter hosted by the original Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. Oddly enough, I was completely unaware of this store's spooky reputation until I was in my mid-20s. How did I miss out on the legend for so long?

None the less, I went there a few times a year as a kid, usually to see what new Majorette die-cast cars & trucks had come in, or to pick out a new Commodore 64 game. I kept going as an adult, grabbing a good chunk of my Skylanders figures there, as well as a vidya game or a Transformer figure from time to time. My last look at this legendary store was in late September after it closed down. I was in town, and just wanted to take a few pics of it for nostalgia's sake. What I saw was a most appropriate use of an allegedly haunted retail space: a temporary Spirit Halloween Superstore! A most amusing coincidence to be sure... or WAS it a coincidence? Hmmm...

And not to bore you any further with my blathering drivel, but over the past year or so I've read stories about Toys-R-Us trying to make a comeback in the U.S., possibly in small-shop format like the old Kay-Bee mall stores, or a store-in-a-store deal where the brand would have a presence inside a big-box mass-merchandise retailer like Target or Wal-Mart. Sadly, I'm not optimistic that such a ploy will work...

Okay, that's much more than enough geezing from yours truly. But before I go, I gotta ask: does anybody out there miss Tower Records? Or Montgomery Ward? Regional electronics stores Federated and The Good Guys? The aforementioned Kay-Bee? How about Woolworth? Let us all know in the comments section, plzthx.

Great video!  I love these videos.  Many great memories.  My Sears and K-Mart didn't have paper slips, they had the actual items on the wall.  The only place here that had the paper slips was Toys 'R Us.
Yes I did hear that Toys R Us was coming back in a smaller form as well. Where was the one you went to Link41???
Zagnorch, great stories for sure.I never heard about that haunted Toys R Us before, I'll have to look that up. Tower Records rings  bell but dont think we had any in CT

Thanks so much Shaggy, I posted a new one on my youtube today about old video game stores, and next week will be rental stores 😊
@russlyman: Here's the IN SEARCH OF... segment about the haunted TRU, complete with some of the worst-acted dramatizations you've ever seen, and psychic Sylvia Browne before she got big:

Here are the THAT'S INCREDIBLE! segments, featuring the store as I remembered it when I was but a wee 'Norch. Oh, and Sylvia Browne again:

Man, those shows were total kitsch, weren't they? ANYway, if I ever find those pics I took of the place, I'll shoot 'em your way.

Man the Service Merchandise conveyor belt just brought back a serious flood of memories Zag!

Not sure who had these in there area, but TG&Y was an amazing department store with a great toy aisle. Also, Brendles is where I got my first NES.

And who could forget layaway and Roses. For $10 I could put a game on layaway and run to the back every 2 weeks to make payments. Took about 4 months to get a game, but man so worth it for a kid.
@singlebanana: Oh man, I didn't even think about layaway until you mentioned it... and neither did anyone else before you for that matter. Layaway is pretty much a lost art in this modern age of retail. Last time I saw layaway being offered was several years ago by Wal-Mart, but they were only offering it for the last three months of the year for the holiday shopping season.

I'm sorry to say I've never heard of TG&Y or Brendles. But then, you might not have heard of some of the retailers I mentioned in my big ol' wall-o'-text a few spaces above. Not every local or regional chain is destined to go national after all...
@russlyman: I was at the Sudbury, Ontario location on Monday.

@Zagnorch: Target in Canada was a joke, there was a reason they lost over a billion dollars in eight months...

I can't wait!

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