K&K Toys = Kaybee Toys?

Discussion in 'The Toyark' started by Smokescreen38, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    Hey, guys-
    Many of us (at least in North America) got a lot of our G1 Transformers from Kaybee Toys/Toy Works; a chain which went through a series of changes and down-sizes until finally closing in the early '00s. Some of my RiD (2001) came from Kaybee which doesn't seem all that long ago...ok, it was a long time ago :) 

    So I seem to recall that prior to becoming KayBee, this chain was called "K&K Toys." Does this ring a bell for anyone? Is this correct?

    Transformers and Beer podcast recently posted up a Youtube review of Gobots Puzzler where the box had a K&K price tag on it...it looked familiar to me but Googling is coming up with not much.

    Thanks for any info!

     
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  2. Faelon

    Faelon Well-Known Member

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    I think K&K was a regional toy store that merged with another chain to become KayBee.
     
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  3. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    KB originally stood for Kaufman Brothers so I don't think they ever operated under K&K and definitely not during the GoBots era when the stores were still spelled out as Kay Bee Toy and Hobby.

    Unless that tag says "K&K Toys" there's no guarantee that it was even a toy store. Back in the 1980s you could buy toys in so many places (partly because manufacturers weren't pushing off smaller clients onto gouging distributors yet). Retail was not always the barren wasteland of broken dreams that it is today.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  4. glinthos

    glinthos doomed hometown

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    IIRC K&K was originally a separate chain that KB acquired at some point and ran as sister stores. Something like Hardee's/Roy Rogers, Rally/Checkers, etc.
     
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  5. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    History of KB Toys – FundingUniverse

    Says...

    KB began as Kaufman Brothers when two brothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, opened a wholesale candy business in 1922. Kaufman Brothers provided retailers with candy and soda fountain supplies. The Kaufman brothers got into the toy business by accident. During the 1940s, they acquired a wholesale toy company from a previous client as payment for outstanding debts owed to Kaufman Brothers for purchased candy. It was an opportune moment for Kaufman Brothers to diversify because the cost of producing candy was prohibitive during World War II due to shortages of important ingredients, especially sugar. Kaufman Brothers assumed operation of the toy company, changing its name to Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby Stores. By 1948, the toy business was so much more successful than the confectionary business that the Kaufman brothers decided to focus their energies entirely on toys. Kaufman Brothers opened its first retail toy store in Connecticut in 1959.

    It wasn't until 1973 that the Kaufman brothers, who still owned and operated the company, decided to move once and for all from wholesaling to retailing. They discontinued their wholesale business altogether and concentrated on their 26 retail stores. Suburban malls were popping up across the country, and the Kaufmans wanted to take advantage of the boom. By 1976, only three years after making the decision to focus solely on retail, Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby had more than doubled its number of stores from 26 to 65 across New England, New York, and New Jersey. One year later, in 1977, the company changed its name from Kay-Bee Toy & Hobby to Kay-Bee Toy and Hobby Shops, Inc., primarily to distinguish itself from competitors with initials in their names or logos. In 1981, when the company was operating 210 stores, it changed its name again, this time to Kay-Bee Toy Stores, reflecting a de-emphasis on hobby products. The company was purchased in 1981 by Melville Corporation. As a subsidiary of Melville, Kay-Bee acquired Toy World, with 52 stores, in 1982; Circus World, with 330 stores, in 1990; and K & K Toys, with 133 stores, in 1991. These three acquisitions moved Kay-Bee into the upper echelon of U.S. toy retailers.

    So K&K was a separate company KB bought in 1991. So in 1985 K&K was unrelated to KB Toys.

    I presume when KB bought them in 1991 the K&K stores changed their names to KB.

    I found a picture of a K&K store...

    download.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  6. Drangleic

    Drangleic A funerary dirge for humanity

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    Not to derail the thread but I used to love KB. They were the most expensive for the time but it was always a blast going in there. They usually had a deeper figure selection than TRU, even though they were smaller.

    Got many Kenner things from KB, back when Kenner was like the shit. Electronics Boutique was right next door to the one I went to. A great combo.
     
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  7. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    They usually were priced higher than the Toys R Us across the street, so while the TRU would sell out of the figure I wanted, KB would have it. Since the computer system considered ALL the figures of the same size class the same item, I would buy a common figure at TRU for $10, then the chase figure I wanted to KB for $15, then return the TRU figure to KB and get my $15 back. Yeah, I was a little evil back then.
     
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  8. Pharoid

    Pharoid Time Traveling Robot TFW2005 Supporter

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    KB was the shit back in the day, small shop but you could get everything with a better selection. TFs, GIJoe, Marvel figures Metal Gear. RiP KB.
     
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  9. Pharoid

    Pharoid Time Traveling Robot TFW2005 Supporter

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    Well thanks for putting KB out of business!;) 
     
  10. Faelon

    Faelon Well-Known Member

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    Neat read. I never realized it, but my old Mall KB must have been one of the original Mall stores opened back in the early 70's. (Long Island). It was wonderful back in the day and had everything.
     
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  11. optics

    optics Well-Known Member

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    I used to go to a KB Toy store at the local mall. I think they closed around 2003-2004 though. I remember buying a Powerlinx Armada Optimus Prime from them. Small store, aisles were close to each other, but the shelves were pack with all sorts of toys.
     
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  12. Star Saber

    Star Saber Cybertron 5th Commander

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    Ah KB, yeah they had tons of stuff from Kenner and Toybiz. Bought a lot of early Marvel figures and TFs from them. They were more accessible to me than TRU back then, since they were present in malls and outlets more. Shame they went out of business.
     
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  13. Smokescreen38

    Smokescreen38 Fight fire with smoke!

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    Thank you, Scaleface! Well done, sir.
     
  14. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    For a long time, KB was actually cheaper than TRU out here. I don't think that changed until the late 1990s. Even then, the difference was like $1. With distribution what it was, it hardly made a difference to me. Pay $7 for the toy or keep $6 in my pocket forever. Still, that's when the downhill slide started...between fraudulent management and Homer there, they were doomed.
     

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  15. nacho

    nacho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that was a good read. I knew they used to be separate because our mall had both KB and K&K, and they were clearly different. KB usually had more current stock of the brand new toys, but K&K often had things for longer, so if you were saving up, they might still have one after KB had moved on. Of course, we had TRU and Children's Palace too, and they were usually cheaper, plus K-Mart and Big K (not releated). The mall stores were always more expensive, but I didn't live near any of them, so if I was at the mall, I paid the price with a smile.

    I have extremely fond memories of my grandmother taking us the the mall in the mid-80's, handing me a twenty, and saying, "Meet me back here in an hour, and we'll go to the movies." I'll never forget finding all the 1985 Joes at the KB and having to painfully choose which to buy and which to leave behind. I bought Flint, Snake-Eyes w/ Timber, a Crimson Guard, and the Crimson Twins... all for less than $20. I didn't save enough for the movie like I was supposed to, but my grandmother spotted me the ticket price. She's cool like that. Easily one of my fondest toy-buying memories.
     
  16. Slave IV

    Slave IV more wealth than you can imagine!

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    Ah, the olden days! I don't remember seeing K&K...too close to having another K?:eek: 
    My spot for Transformers as a kid was BEST. But that was long gone before KB went down.
     
  17. RKillian

    RKillian http://www.rktoyandhobby.com

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    BEST
     
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