Businesses come and go but some are so big, we never expect them to go. Some Businesses become apart of our culture and deeply effect how we live. Others we can do without but every so often, there’s a Business that seems destined to live forever. Especially when that Business has a strong hold on it’s market. How do Businesses with Billion dollar revenue and assets collapse? Here are a few businesses that we thought would last forever, part 1.
Founded 1955/ Retail: Appliances and Electronics- Defunct: May 2017
HHGregg started as a mom-and-pop appliance store founded by Henry Harold Gregg and Fansy Gregg. They expanded rapidly over the years and maintained family in leadership. They exploded at the turn of the century, as old pioneers like Sears, K-Mart and Circuit City were crumbling.
They had two goofy characters playing delivery men that gained popularity. Same day delivery was an option if you purchased it before 2p.m. and was opening new stores monthly. At their height, they had 220 stores, in 20 states. In most major cities, they were the only major appliance stores, boasting billions of dollars in revenue.
HHGregg offered Fridges, Ranges, Microwaves, Dishwashers, Washers, Dryers, Beds, Treadmills and more. Business came to a halt in March of 2017, when HHGregg filed for bankruptcy. A month later they announced that they would close all of their locations permanently. To this day, no appliance store has filled that void and people are stuck purchasing refrigerators from electronic stores.
Founded 1962/ Retail: Home furnishing and Décor- Defunct: Oct 2020
Pier 1 first open in 1962 and by 1970 went public on the American stock exchange. By 1972, when it joined the New York Stock Exchange; they had over 100 stores, including locations Australia and Europe. The chain had 265 stores by 1985.
Pier 1 was no small-time discount store. The immaculate stores, included quality home furnishings, candles, picture frames, furniture, décor, vases and more. Location were all residents of above average income neighborhoods and appeared to be doing really well. Their decision to close, came as a shock to loyal customers.
Big Competitors like Wayfair, Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath & Beyond; help to fill the void so quickly, that many consumers never missed their demise. On Feb 17th, 2020, Pier 1 and seven affiliated companies filed bankruptcy. On May 30th, announced courts approval to liquidate all locations.
Founded October 1985/ Home movie & Game Rental service- Defunct: Sept 2010
Blockbuster started small and scaled big. Really big. Although unbelievable to my teens today; there were actually stores full of thousands VHS tapes, DVDs and Games, where you could rent them for a week or so. I know, this was right after the dinosaurs but it was a very profitable Business that made Billions.
In 2004, at its height Blockbuster had 9,094 stores and over 84,000 employees, putting the movie and game market on lock and unfortunately, allowed it to contribute to their demise. They were too slow to react to the worlds digital revolution and slowly got wiped out my many new innovative companies. Also, they also infamously, botched one of the biggest deals that never happened.
In 2000, a much smaller rival presented Blockbuster with the opportunity to purchase it. Being big and a leader in an industry; can be a curse too. It’s the smaller companies that fuel innovation, in an effort to compete for market space. Blockbuster, laughed and refused to buy the struggling Business. Blockbuster would collapse a decade later and the small company they didn’t acquire; is still around with the same name, Netflix.
Founded in 1957/Retail: Toys, kids clothing and products- Defunct: Aug 2018
Entrepreneur Charles Lazarus, started Toys R Us as part of his children’s furniture store and Turned it into a worldwide Brand. Kids from everywhere and all walks of life, grew up nagging their parents to go to Toys R Us. Birthdays, Christmas, good report cards or any excuse, we all just wanted to go. It was the heaven on earth for kids.
Like most of the Businesses on this list, Toys R Us Dominated it market. The now defunct KB Toys, was a very distant second but no one else compared. With nearly 1600 stores around the world, Geoffrey the Giraffe, had became a household “spokes-animal.” Expanding, the company also developed out two more powerful Brands, in Kids R Us and Babies R Us. Both having their own stores as well.
In 2011 and 2012, the company reported over a billion dollars in reported online sales. By 2019, the Domain ToysRUs.com lead you to Target.com. Today if you visit the site, then you’ll see all the products quote Amazon’s price. No retailer or online site has been able to fill their void. Out of survival, our children have adapted and now they watch other kids play with their toys online for hours.
Founded:1956/ Retail: Discounted Shoes- Defunct: May 2019
Payless Shoe Source, now just Payless; was founded in 1956 by two cousins, Louis and Shaol Pozez. By 1961, it became a public company as the Volume Shoe Corporation. Earning the publics trust as a reputable Brand, Payless was able to thrive due to two facts: everyone needs shoes and most people can’t afford expensive ones.
Payless Shoe Source was not the average shoe store. The were in the volume side of the shoe Business. They produce a variety of shoes that reflected how much shoes are supposed to cost. Once, the largest family-owned shoe chain, Payless was selling over 250 million shoes a year.
Over the years , they had expanded and acquired several other Brands. In 2011, Payless had a total revenue of 3.4 Billion. Then, in 2004, the company announced that it will close down the parade chain and close many Payless outlets. In 2017, they filed for bankruptcy and in 2019, closed all stores. Last year, the Brand reemerged to launch as a E-Commerce site.