Zany Brainy

Do you remember Zany Brainy?

Zany Brainy was a United States retail store chain owned by FAO Schwarz that sold educational toys and multi-media products aimed at children ages 4–12. Its merchandise included games and puzzles; infant development toys; books, audiocassettes, CDs, videos; arts and crafts; building toys and trains; computer software; electronic learning aids and musical instruments; science toys; plush toys and dolls; and sports-themed toys. The stores offered daily events such as workshops, concerts, and author appearances.
David Schlessinger, who had earlier started the now-defunct Encore Books chain of bookstores, founded Zany Brainy in 1991. The company’s CEO was Thomas Vellios. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, 2001, having faced financial difficulties since acquiring rival company Noodle Kidoodle in 2000. Later in 2001, Zany Brainy’s assets were sold to Right Start. At the time of the sale, Zany Brainy had 187 retail locations nationwide.

The Rise & Fall of Zany Brainy

1991
Founded
Zany Brainy was Founded

The first Zany Brainy store, located in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania opened it's doors on Dec. 1, 1991.

2000
Zany Brainy acquired Noodle Kidoodle

Zany Brainy acquired Noodle Kidoodle. Zany Brainy paid $35 million for 60 stores.

2003
Defunct
The End of Zany Brainy

Zany Brainy announced the shuttering of its remaining 187 stores in December 2003.

Click through the gallery above for some of the most popular forgotten retail spots that are now gone, but never forgotten. Did we miss one of your favorites? Share your memories in the comments.

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