‘Stranger Things” new season features a slew of iconic stores that no longer exist

Scoops Ahoy! is a fictional ice cream parlor, but the Starcourt Mall in Hawkins, Indiana, features a number of real companies that have since gone bankrupt.

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Scoops Ahoy! is a fictional ice cream parlor, but the Starcourt Mall in Hawkins, Indiana, features a number of real companies that have since gone bankrupt.
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Stranger Things / Youtube

“Stranger Things” is back, and Netflix’s nostalgic scare-fest is serving up its most retail-oriented season yet.

A significant amount of the action in the show takes place in Hawkins, Indiana’s new Starcourt Mall, which attracts the show’s young characters and throws the small town’s economy for a loop.

Read more: 11 once-popular grocery stores that disappeared forever

While fan-favorite character Steve Harrington is toiling his summer away at the fictional Scoops Ahoy! ice cream parlor, Starcourt features plenty of other real-life retailers.

Some, like the Gap, Orange Julius, and JCPenney, still exist. But others have since been forever sucked into the retail equivalent of the Upside Down.

Here are a few of the stores featured on “Stranger Things” that no longer exist:


Sam Goody

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Sam Goody started out as a record store.
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Stranger Things / Youtube

Sam Goody is referenced a number of times in the show, but this music retailer is, in fact, gone for good.

Founded in 1951 as a vinyl record store, Sam Goody went on to become a significant music retailer in the United States. Best Buy gobbled up Sam Goody’s parent company, Musicland, in 2000, and it sold the company to private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners three years later.

Sam Goody faced the music in 2006, when Musicland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The brand hasn’t quite sung its swan song though, as it still survives on Trans World Entertainment’s website and in two remaining physical stores.


Wicks N’ Sticks

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This store’s cameo lasts a split-second.
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Stranger Things / Youtube

It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance, but candle retailer Wicks N’ Sticks momentarily flickers across the screen in Starcourt Mall’s fictional advertisement.

On Milwaukee reported that the company sold candles for every occasion, as well as a slew of quirky wax sculptures.

Wicks N’ Sticks was permanently extinguished in 2006 when its holding company Home Fragrance Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to the Houston Business Journal.


Waldenbooks

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Waldenbooks makes a significant cameo in one of the teaser trailers for “Stranger Things.”
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Stranger Things / Youtube

Waldenbooks is sure to be an important destination for some of “Stranger Things'” more bookish characters. This longtime competitor of Barnes & Noble is one of the stores prominently featured in Netflix’s Starcourt Mall teaser.

The first Waldenbooks store launched in 1962, although its founders had been in the book-renting business since the 1930s. Kmart snapped up Waldenbooks in 1984, the year before the events of “Stranger Things” season three. Within Kmart, Waldenbooks and Borders would eventually merge and later spin off as an independent bookseller in 1995.

Borders marked its newfound independence by beginning to phase out the Waldenbooks name, and both booksellers shuttered for good after the Borders Group filed for liquidation in 2011.


Hot Sam Pretzels

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The Hot Sam’s sign is located at the upper-left corner of this still.
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Stranger Things / Youtube

“Stranger Things” episodes tend to be as twisty as a pretzel, so it’s appropriate that Hot Sam Pretzels is one of the proprietors located in Starcourt’s food court.

Hot Sam was first cooked up in 1967 Detroit and began to expand across the country in the subsequent two decades, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But Hot Sam’s piping-hot success would cool thanks to a series of acquisitions. Mrs. Field’s bought up Hot Sam in 1995 and rendered the brand defunct a decade later.


Chess King

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A Chess King sign is clearly visible next to Starcourt’s RadioShack.
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Stranger Things / Netflix

Chess King has since lost its crown, but the 1980s proved to be the heyday for this menswear retailer.

A 1998 Los Angeles Times article listed the chain as a good fit for “trend-conscious young men.” But fashion is fickle, and The New York Times reported that the retailer fell on “hard times” in the 1990s thanks to changing fashion trends.

Chess King was officially checkmated in 1995, when its parent company Merry-Go-Round closed its remaining stores.


Wyatt’s Cafeteria

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A sign for Wyatt’s Cafeteria is partially visible in several shots.
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Stranger Things / Netflix

“Stranger Things” has frequently featured secret government and military operations, so the inclusion of Wyatt’s Cafeteria in Starcourt’s food court is fitting.

Wyatt’s first opened in 1931 in Dallas, specifically to cater to defense plants and the North American Aviation Company.

Rival buffet-style chain Luby’s bought up Wyatt’s in 1996.


Kaufman Shoes

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Kaufman Footwear went bankrupt in 2000.
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Stranger Things / Youtube

“Stranger Things'” jumpier moments might have viewers quaking in their boots, but the footwear at Kaufman Footwear is no longer available for purchase.

It should be noted that one of the stores within Starcourt Mall is named Kaufman Shoes, while a real-life, defunct Canadian brand was known as Kaufman Footwear. It’s unclear whether or not this is a reference to the actual company, or a strange coincidence.

The company declared bankruptcy in 2000, according to the University of Waterloo’s website.