By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular Twin Cities toy retailer is closing its doors after nearly 38 years.

Creative Kidstuff is going out of business, and all six of its stores will close June 30.

“We love Creative Kidstuff and it’s sad to hear it won’t be here anymore,” said customer Brittany White.

The liquidation signs are now out, and some customers are already saying goodbye. Jessica Falon has been going to this store since she was a kid. Her mother even worked at Creative Kidstuff.

“Just the unique toys they have. It’s the best kids store there is,” said Falon.

When the Creative Kidstuff stores close, about 99 employees will be out of work. President Roberta Bonoff said that’s just part of what makes this decision so difficult.

“I have the most amazing staff. Some of them I worked with from three years to 25 years,” said Bonoff.

The stores are known for allowing kids to play with the toys and use their imagination. And their signature gift wrapping offered a personal touch.

“We weren’t in electronics. We weren’t in the online gaming. We are really your good, specialty toy store that had quality products,” said Bonoff.

Bonoff said the industry changed dramatically about 10 years ago. With families paying for cell phone time, iPads, laptops and sports fees. Like Toys R Us before them, Creative Kidstuff tried different things to keep up.

“The reality is, it’s just not there. And so at some point, you just have to say stop,” said Bonoff.

The stores will stay open until the end of June.

In the meantime, well wishes in the form of emails and phone calls have been pouring in, all from people who grew up finding their creative side in a creative place.

“It’s probably one of the hardest days of my life to be honest,” said Bonoff. “For one, to make this decision and then to have to actually make it public today is probably one of hardest days I’ve ever had.”

A close-out sale started Wednesday in stores.

Bonoff says their airport location will continue, and they will still sell products on Amazon.

John Lauritsen

  1. Caroline Bach says:

    So sad when independent small retailers are overpowered by big box players. Think about this when you buy your wine, food, goods. Buy local, support local!