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Kiddie City: Did It Really Exist?

My husband does not believe me that there used to be a toy store called Kiddie City, very similar to Toys’R’Us. In fact, there was a Kiddie City right in nearby Sylvania, Ohio, which still has a Toys’R’Us. I had to prove it to him by Google-ing it the other day.

Kiddie City Coloring Book

Kiddie City Coloring Book

I was correct.

My recent and short-term memory might be junk, but I can remember some things from my childhood very clearly.

Plus, Kiddie City is one of those things I have clung to all these years, so I would not forget it. Like that Punky Brewster’s dog Brandon was named after head of NBC, Brandon Tartikoff.

Plus, I have kept this all these years to remind me:

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa around 1980.

Official Kiddie City semi truck, from my personal collection, circa 1980.

My mom and I always shopped at Kiddie City. I always thought of Toys’R’Us as inferior (I still do). Apparently my tiny pre-schooler brain was pretty on-track, because according to Wikipedia (where any info I site here on out in this post comes from), Kiddie City was the second-largest toy chain in the United States. They were owned by Lionel, of model railroad fame.

I asked my mom where it was located, and her memories do not seem to match mine. That doesn’t really mean anything. We could both be wrong. She thinks it was in the shopping plaza where Major Magic’s was for many years. The location would make sense. My mom never traveled very far into Sylvania/Toledo on her own. That would be an easy location for her to get to and regularly find.

I have memories of looking at toy robots in a toy store when I was a kid. I remember blue, metal shelves (kind of like Cosco). I have no idea if that would have been Toys’R’Us or Kiddie City or just my imagination. I like to think maybe that was Kiddie City.

When I got my swing set when I was a kid, I know we bought it from one of those two stores in Sylvania, but my mom doesn’t remember which one. But I think maybe that was Toys’R’Us.

Apparently Kiddie City declared Bankruptcy in 1982, reducing their store count from 150 down to 55 stores. This is most likely when the Sylvania store closed. They grew back to being the fourth-largest toy store in the country before the stores were all closed for good in 1993.

Gone, but clearly not forgotten.

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

I would so LOVE one of these shirts!

Classic Kiddie City Commercial
(Ah, what it must have been like to be a mom in the 80’s. Awesome hair, awesome clothes…)

19 responses

  1. I’ve never heard of it. But we didn’t even get to shop at toys r us. Since there were 4 of us very close in age, we didn’t get out much except to tag along at the laundromat (where we searched high and low for stray quarters that we could use in the candy machines). Therefore I don’t really remember much that everyone else from way back. We just never experienced it.

    • I think it is an age thing. I BARELY remember Kiddie City and you and my husband are both a few years younger. That is probably why you guys don’t remember.

      And also, I totally found all the stray quarters before you got to the laundromat, sucker! 😉

  2. I grew up in Philadelphia, so I can attest to Kiddie City existing. They actually were still around in the early 90’s in this area. I have a boxed Sega Dream cast from there. (It still has the big bright orange discount sticker on it) I always preferred Kiddie City over Toys R Us

  3. We had a Kiddie City in Whitehall, PA when I was growing up. Whenever my parents would go shopping for furniture at Levitz they would let my brother and I wander the aisles of Kiddie City which was located next door. A lot of fond memories growing up during their operations. In an ironic twist – my very first job was working at the Toys R Us a mile or so down the road.

  4. I grew up in Rochester, NY (upstate) and we had a Kiddie City. I remember liking it better than toysRus…Not sure why. Might have been The name? Makes a young kid think there is a city just for kids.Maybe i liked kangaroo’s better than Giraffes? But i still loved toysRus too…and i for sure loved the ToysRus commercials/theme song.

  5. I work the kitddie city in King of Prussia on 202 with Fred Wasserman and I had my picture taken with Will Chamberlain advertising a new doll. He bent over put his arms out and picked up me and another girl with the new doll in our hands. It was in all papers as a promotional article for the new doll

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  7. Yes, I grew up with Kiddie City in the 60s and 70s in the Philadelphia area. Got many things there as a kid!

  8. After shopping there as a kid, I actually worked at KC in the early 90s until it closed

  9. We had a Kiddie City in Trenton, NJ in the 1970s on Route 33/Nottingham Way – I loved going there – they had a fantastic toy train/model kits section that seemed to take up half the huge store (makes sense, as Lionel was the parent company)!

  10. Michael Mikolajczyk

    Yes, the Kiddie City store was indeed located in Sylvania, Ohio on Alexis Road. It became another faled retailer “The Pharm”. And your mom is also correct it was at the opposite end of the shopping center where Major Magic was.

  11. I worked at Kiddie city in King of Prussia, PA in 1966 For Fred Wasserman I had my picture taken with another girl with Wilt Chamberlaine advertising a new doll that we were carrying at the time It was in The Time Hearld and it went international the picture

  12. Michael Gagliardi

    Yes it existed! I shop there as a kid constantly before we got a Toys “R” Us. Real reason why I found this is because I was googling what’s the name of the kangaroo was. Tell your husband he’s crazy and stop making me feel like I am. This ain’t no Mandela affect

  13. I remember Kiddie City, I used to go there with my mom, back in the 80’s. I used to love that store. It was located on Lincoln hwy (business rt 1) in langhorne Pa. Sadly it closed and they made it into a Mealys furniture store and now that closed.

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