Chess King, J Riggins & Merry-Go-Round: 10 Classic Mall Stores That Are Gone Or All But Gone
And chances are that mall won't be anything like it was.
Back in the day, every mall seemed to have at least a few of the same stores in it. They may have been stores you never actually saw anyone buying anything in, or they may have been wildly popular, but nowadays they have either disappeared from the mall landscape or have become increasingly hard to find.
Whither there goest, Chess King? Let's see, in a look at ten classic mall stores.
10. Chess King
Where the allegedly well-dressed young man of the '80s went to stock up for the school year. The chain began in 1968 by salesmen from Thom McAn (remember them?) and eventually grew to 500 stores across the nation.
But, like a-ha and the Flock of Seagulls, it got stuck in the `80s and was left behind. The last store closed in 1995.
9. Contempo Casuals
The Chess King for girls? Maybe. We weren't into the scene at the time. But Contempo Casuals was a mainstay in malls across America. Until, that is, it was acquired by Wet Seal in 1995. By 2001, all remaining Contempo Casuals stores were under the Wet Seal name.
8. Sam Goody & Camelot Music
For teens, a mall's music store was key. (Note to todayz kidz: Yes, a brick-and-mortar outlet filled with vinyl, cassettes, eventually CDs and large stand-up displays of KISS used to exist.)
These generally were not the atmospheric beloved stores with employees having encyclopedic knowledge of whatever genre you were looking for, but they were key places to browse, eye the opposite sex and get kicked out of for not buying anything after an hour or two.
Both Sam Goody and Camelot were absorbed into FYE a couple of years ago.
The stores were filled with the kind of food you send to acquaintances or somewhat-distant relatives as gifts, without ever eating yourself. (Including if you received it as a gift.) Cheese logs, summer sausage, picnic baskets filled with straw and preserves -- it's a wonder the stores don't survive.
They live on online, though, and in the holiday season some malls get kiosks, just in case Aunt Rose is jonesing for the Savory Cheese Collection.