KB Toys Strikes Back!

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the demise of toy-industry and retail icon, Toys “R” Us, but for lovers of nostalgia and brick-and-mortar stores and comeback stories – there’s some good news on the horizon!

Beloved discount retailer, KB Toys has announced that they are coming back – with a vengeance.

In a press release posted recently, Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Strategic Marks, LLC, KB Toys and Leaf Brands, LLC said the company found the sudden news of the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us a shock, causing them to accelerate their plans to bring back the KB Toys brand for Christmas of 2018. Their hope is to reopen online stores and physical spaces in the new year.

As any kid from the 80s and 90s could tell you, KB Toys was a discount toy store famous for its retail locations in malls across America. They went out of business in 2008 (through 2009) themselves, with Toys “R” Us purchasing their remaining assets (like the brand name and website), because the toys gods are cruel and capricious. Almost a decade later, Strategic Marks acquired the KB name while Toys “R” Us went through various stages of liquidation, and now we may be seeing the resurgence of yet another second mover in the industry.

But who, exactly, is Ellia Kassoff? Well, that’s an interesting tale in and of itself!

Photo by DAMIAN DOVARGANES / AP
Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, a Newport Beach, Calif., candy and cookie company, poses with some of his products at the offices of his distributor in Pico Rivera, Calif.

Basically, Ellia Kassoff is the nephew of Ed Leaf, the original CEO of the original Leaf Brands, a candy retailing that made a name for itself with such classics like Wacky Waffers, Astro Pops, and Hydrox (the original second mover). Many of these brands went away over the years, and Leaf Brands itself was sold to Hersey in 1996, but Ellia restarted the company in 2011 with the intent of bringing classic retro treats back to consumers. In short, his bread and butter is the name-brand resurrection game.

Listen, nothing will make the demise of such an iconic company as Toys “R” Us feel right. Private equity firms are, at best, often shady – and the loss of jobs is nothing to scoff at. Still, there’s something to say about the actually invested business-people that care enough about their product to get it back in front of the right people.

Will this project be successful? We sure as heck hope so.

About Frank Hablawi 166 Articles
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