Mall Gone: Sam Goody, K-B Toys, and Other Mall Stores We Miss

Toys "R" Us


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Gadzooks To Only Sell Only Merchandise For Girls
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Easy to Miss and Hard to Forget Stores

Malls, once the epicenter of Americans' suburban shopping sprees, continue to struggle. Even the flashy, much-hyped American Dream mall in New Jersey, which just opened in 2019, lost a whopping $60 million two years later. And while some mall stores are fleeting and forgettable, there are others shoppers may have thought would always be around that have still closed up shop. Check out some of the most fondly remembered mall stores that are only still alive in our memories — or online. 

Related: Iconic Department Stores We Miss

County Seat

County Seat

If you were looking for affordable jeans in the '70s, chances are you stopped into a County Seat store to score a deal on a pair of Levi’s. While half of the products at the store were denim, other apparel became available throughout the years too, until the store closed its doors permanently in 1999 after filing for bankruptcy.

Related: The History of American Jeans: From Railroad to Runway

K-B Toys
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

K-B Toys

For several decades, if you were a kid at the mall, your eyes widened with excitement as you passed by K-B Toys and begged to go in. The store was full of unique toys and operated more than 1,300 stores across all 50 states. Unfortunately, the chain permanently closed in early 2009.

Related: Magical Toy Stores to Visit

Rugged Bear

Rugged Bear

Consumers loved visiting Rugged Bear for everything from play clothes to outerwear. After more than 30 years in business, Northeast-based children’s clothing store Rugged Bear closed down all 29 of its retail locations in 2011. 

For more smart retail coverage, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Sam Goody
Sam Goody by Adam Lautenbach (CC BY)

Sam Goody

Before the rise of digital music, CDs, cassette tapes, and records all had their own heydays. Music stores were the place to go if you wanted to purchase the latest albums from your favorite artists, and Sam Goody was one of the most popular stores of its kind. By 2012, most stores were either closed entirely or converted to other brands like FYE.

Related: Products You Never Thought Would be Obsolete

Wet Seal Bayside Miami Still Open (15598039013) (2)
Wet Seal Bayside Miami Still Open (15598039013) (2) by Phillip Pessar (CC BY)

Wet Seal

Teen clothing store Wet Seal offered all types of clothing from outerwear and bathing suits to dresses and T-shirts. Unfortunately, its success expired in 2015 when the brand filed for bankruptcy, closing all store locations by 2017. You can, however, still shop online.

Related: 13 Dead Fashion Brands We Miss

Borders Books and Music
Borders Books and Music by Borders Books and Music (CC BY-NC-SA)

Borders Books & Music

Not only did Borders sell books and magazines of all genres, it also sold CDs. Although it was once wildly successful, the company was forced to liquidate in 2011. 

Gadzooks To Only Sell Only Merchandise For Girls
Tim Boyle/Getty Images


Gadzooks first opened as a T-shirt store in 1983. Over the years, it transitioned into a teen clothing store until being bought out by Forever 21 in 2005.

Mervyn's Last Day
Mervyn's Last Day by Scott Schrantz (CC BY-NC-SA)


While department stores used to be huge, they have since been among the biggest casualties of the bricks-and-mortar retail implosion. Consumers may no longer find a different department store to choose from at the end of each shopping mall hallway. Mervyn’s was one of those department stores that didn’t survive, closing all 200 of its locations across ten different states after filing for bankruptcy in 2008.


Related: Devastating Photos of Dying Sears and Kmart Stores

Steve & Barry's @ Cincinnati Mall
Steve & Barry's @ Cincinnati Mall by Nicholas Eckhart (CC BY-NC-SA)

Steve & Barry’s

Steve & Barry’s sold affordable casual clothing, footwear, and accessories. The chain originated on college campuses, specializing in college-related clothing, but later branched out to distribute private label, celebrity lines. The chain couldn’t go the distance, though, closing all its stores in 2009.

The Limited Dadeland Mall Miami
The Limited Dadeland Mall Miami by Phillip Pessar (CC BY)

The Limited

Clothing retailer The Limited operated retail locations from the 1960s until the late 2010s, becoming a brand owned by Sun Capital Partners in 2007. The company closed all 250 of its stores in 2017, laying off 4,000 workers and filing for bankruptcy. 

Limited Too

Limited Too

Walking into a Limited Too was like walking into a separate little pink and purple, sparkly world inside the mall. Marketed toward tween girls, the clothing store offered stylish, bright-colored clothing and accessories. The store began to fade away during the 2000s. Today, any remaining Limited Too locations have been rebranded to Justice stores.

Younkers Entry- Manitowoc, WI - Flickr - MichaelSteeber
Younkers Entry- Manitowoc, WI - Flickr - MichaelSteeber by Michael Steeber (CC BY-SA)


Younkers is another department store that faded away. The Midwest-based retailer had a good run of more than 150 years, finally closing the last stores in 2018, with only an online store remaining.

1976+IM050004 by Joe+Jeanette Archie (CC BY)

Kinney Shoes

Once the largest family chain shoe retailer, Kinney Shoes was founded in 1894 and remained in business until 1998. The company had several divisions, including Foot Locker, which still operates to this day.

B. Dalton at Union Station sideways
B. Dalton at Union Station sideways by Ben Schumin (CC BY-SA)

B. Dalton Bookseller

B. Dalton Bookseller was once the largest retailer of hardcover books in the U.S. with nearly 800 stores at its peak. The store was eventually acquired by Barnes & Noble in 2010.

Dress Barn, Fredericksburg, VA (Central Park)
Dress Barn, Fredericksburg, VA (Central Park) by m01229 (CC BY)

Dress Barn

Geared toward providing work dresses and clothing to women, Dress Barn originated in Connecticut and grew to have locations scattered throughout the United States. The company ultimately closed all 650 of its stores in 2019 with only an online store remaining.

Toys "R" Us

Toys R Us

In 2018, kids and kids at heart everywhere mourned the loss of perhaps the most iconic toy store, Toys R Us. The grief wasn’t long-lived, though, since the store came back online in 2019. In 2021, the brand opened a massive flagship store at the American Dream Mall in New Jersey and began selling merchandise in Macy's stores across the country — so, it may not be down for the count yet.

Related: Stores and Brands You Thought Were Dead But Aren't