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13 once-beloved companies that disappeared in the past decade


Henri BendelHenri Bendel

Henri Bendel is one of the many retail stores that closed in 2019.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Henri Bendel

  • Both retail stores and restaurant chains have seen their fair share of closures and bankruptcies over the past decade.
  • Once-beloved brands such as Henri Bendel and Blockbuster have filed for bankruptcy and permanently closed its doors. 
  • Here’s a look at 13 companies that we once loved but had to say goodbye to this decade. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Some brands and restaurant chains have gone bankrupt over the last 10 years causing them to shut down, while the future of others still remains unclear.

store closing

Many companies have gone bankrupt in the past decade.

Source: Business Insider

Airline, Wow Air, known for its cheap flights from the United States to Europe, ceased operations in 2019.

wow air

Wow Air ceased operations in 2019.

Courtesy of WOW Air

Source: Business Insider

The budget airline struggled with profitability, likely because of a combination of rising fuel costs and a decrease in tourist visits to Iceland in recent years.


Wow Air has seen better days.

Source: Business Insider

In March 2019, Wow Air suddenly announced that it was ceasing all operations, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

WOW Air business class

Wow Air’s closure this year left passengers stranded.

Source: Business Insider, CNBC

Iconic luxury brand, Henri Bendel, closed its doors for good in 2019.

Henri Bendel

Henri Bendel was a New York City staple.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Henri Bendel

Source: CNN

Henri Bendel founded his namesake store in 1895, and the brand became a pioneer in the world of luxury fashion. By 1985, the brand was acquired by L Brands.

henri bendels 3470

Henri Bendel was a more than 100-year-old business.
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Business Insider

After a decline in sales and not staying relevant to customer needs, L Brands announced in 2018 it would be closing the brand including all 23 Henri Bendel stores.

empty henri bendel store

An empty Henri Bendel store.
Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

The beloved accessories chain, Charming Charlie, also went bankrupt in 2019.

charming charlie

Charming Charlie was a popular accessories store in the 2000s.
Mike Mozart/Flickr

Source: Business Insider

In 2017, the brand’s CFO blamed the “continuing decline of physical consumer traffic,” as the reason why Charming Charlie needed to file for bankruptcy and close its stores.

charming charlie

The brand was lacking foot traffic in its stores.
Mike Mozart/Flickr

Source: Business Insider

The brand first went bankrupt in 2018 but had to file again in 2019 and close all of its 261 stores across 38 states.

charming charlie

Charming Charlie filed bankruptcy twice and officially in 2019.
Kzoo Cowboy/Flickr

Source: USA Today

Payless ShoeSource disappeared in 2019.


Payless has gone bankrupt.
NurPhoto/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Although Payless shoes were discounted compared to other retailers, the company didn’t count on competition from retailers like Target and Walmart, which quickly rose in popularity throughout the 2000s.


Target and Walmart became major competition for Payless.
Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

Finally, in 2017, Payless officially filed for bankruptcy. Then two years later, the company filed for bankruptcy again and announced that it would close all of its stores for good.


The brand filed for bankruptcy twice in two years.

Source: Business Insider

Alta Motors was an electric motorcycle maker.

alta motors Marc Fenigstein

Alta Motors cofounder and CEO Marc Fenigstein stands next to the Redshift SM and MX electric motorcycles.
Aaron Brown/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Although it raised money from investors such as Tesla cofounders, Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard, the company was unable to sustain itself.

alta motors

Alta Motors couldn’t sustain itself.
Alta Motors

Source: Business Insider

After a private equity firm bought Gymboree for $1.8 billion, the brand opened 400 stores overseas. But the rapid expansion wasn’t sustainable.


The rapid expansion was too much for the brand to handle.

Source: Business Insider, CBS 

Gymboree eventually filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and closed 375 stores.

Two children stand near a 60 percent off sale sign at a Gymboree children's clothing store as shoppers buy gifts on Christmas Eve at the Beverly Center shopping mall in Los Angeles, California December 24, 2008.  REUTERS/Fred Prouser       (UNITED STATES) - RTR22TW9

The store closed in 2017.
Thomson Reuters

Source: Business Insider

Beloved toy store, Toys R Us, filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

Toys r us

Toys R Us was a beloved toy brand.
AP/Julio Cortez

Source: Business Insider

Toys R Us began as a single store in 1948 and at its peak, controlled a quarter of the global toy market. During that time the company was selling 18,000 different toys in more than 1,000 stores.

Toys R Us interior

Toys R Us became the go-to store for toys.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

A combination of changing taste in toys, a failed buyout, its stores becoming dated, and the eventual rise of e-commerce, caused Toys R Us to struggle.

toys r us checkout

A Toys R Us employee places a receipt in a customer’s bag at a New York location in 2011.
Andrew Burton/AP Photo

Source: Business Insider

Toys R Us also had growing debt. When it finally declared bankruptcy, the company owed more than $5 billion.

Toys R Us interior

Toys R Us faced many hardships.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider, USA Today

But we haven’t seen the end of Toys R Us just yet. Tru Kids Brands purchased the company’s assets in October 2018 and in November 2019, Toys R Us opened a new retail store in Paramus, New Jersey.

Toys R Us giraffe

Toys R Us is trying to make a comeback.
Shoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times,

Once-beloved restaurant chain, Ruby Tuesday, first closed more than 100 stores in 2016.

ruby tuesday

Ruby Tuesday was once a booming business.

Flickr/Mr. Blue MauMau

Source: Mashed

By 2017, Ruby Tuesday was sold to a private company, NRD Capital, which continued to close restaurants. By the end of the decade, the restaurant shut down around 400 locations due to low sales.

Ruby Tuesday

The chain continued to close locations.
Ruby Tuesday

Source: Mashed

Sporting goods store, Sports Authority, said goodbye to its customers in 2016.

Sports Authority

Sports Authority closed its doors in 2016.

Source: Business Insider

Sports Authority couldn’t keep up with the competition from the higher-end Dick’s Sporting Goods and online purchases made on Amazon, or directly from sports leagues.

dicks sporting goods 1211

Dick’s Sporting Goods was a major competitor of Sports Authority.
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Business Insider, CNN

In March 2016, Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores nationwide.

sports authority

Sports Authority closed its doors in 2016.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Source: Business Insider, CNN

A&P, once the largest grocery store chain in the United States, closed its doors for good in 2015.

a&p supermarket

A&P was a considered the largest grocery store chain.
Chris Hondro/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

A&P got pushed out by specialty grocery brands like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which began to dominate the grocery market.

whole foods

Whole Foods became a major competitor.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider/Kelton Global

In 2010, the chain filed for bankruptcy, and then again in 2015 before officially closing its doors the same year.

grocery store

A&P officially closed its stores in 2015.
David McNew/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, USA Today

Beloved restaurant chain, Old Country Buffet, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 for the second time.

Old Country Buffet

Old Country Buffet faced many difficulties staying open.
Dan R. /

Source: Business Insider

As a result of the ongoing bankruptcy, the brand closed 81 restaurants throughout the country and now, there are just 18 Old Country Buffet locations remaining.


There are only 18 Old Country Buffet locations remaining.

Source: Business Insider

Movie rental giant, Blockbuster, closed its doors in 2011.


Blockbuster was once the go-to movie rental store.
AP Photo/Ron Heflin

Source: Business Insider

In the early 2000s, with more than 9,000 locations globally, Blockbuster was worth about $5 billion.


Blockbuster was a billion dollar company.
AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

Source: Business Insider

At the brand’s peak in 2004, it employed 60,000 people.

blockbuster bend 2

Blockbuster’s shelves filled with movies.

Yelp/Scott K.

Source: IB Times

In 2010, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy with $1 billion in debt. At the time, it was the last remaining video-rental chain in the United States.


2010 was the year Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy.
Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

In 2011, Dish Network acquired Blockbuster’s remaining assets for about $320 million, and two years later, Dish began closing all remaining stores in the United States.

blockbuster closing

Dish Network closed all Blockbuster stores.
Education Images/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Borders was a favorite bookstore that closed in 2011.

borders books

Borders was a popular bookstore.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Borders also didn’t have an e-reader like Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Amazon’s Kindle to keep the company competitive in the digital age.

Amazon Kindle

Borders couldn’t compete with the other e-readers.

Source: Business Insider, Yahoo! News


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Retail Apocalypse

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