December 6, 2013
It was a staple of malls and smaller shopping centers, but the second-oldest North American toy retailer couldn't survive into the current decade.
Founded as Kaufman Brothers in the 1920s as a candy outlet, the franchise broke into the toy business a couple of decades later, becoming the Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby Stores, and later Kay-Bee Toys.
The stores in malls were designed with eye-catching displays in the front to draw customers, especially children, inside.
In the 1990s, Kay-Bee expanded into stores that were on their own, which put them in direct competition with bigger toy stores such as Toys R Us.
In 1997, they shortened their name to K-B Toys, and later that decade branched into the online toy business.
However, financial problems and a pair of bankruptcies during the 2000s led to a decline and the brand was eventually purchased by Toys R Us in 2009.