A sad goodbye: Kazoo Toys prepares to close after three decades in Cherry Creek North

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If you grew up in Denver, you've probably shopped at or at least heard of Kazoo Toys -- or remember the interactive toy store by its original name, Kazoo & Company. After taking on a new space in Cherry Creek North for less than a year, Kazoo Toys is closing up shop, leaving behind the legacy of a well-loved store in an area that's losing a lot of its onetime institutions as the boom continues.

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Moving from the spot at 2930 East Second Avenue that it occupied for more than 25 years to the remarkably less visible location at 262 Fillmore Street in 2013 unknowingly proved to be the death knell for the Colorado favorite.

"This location did not work," says Kazoo owner Diana Nelson. "Kazoo is a wonderful family business -- we've been around since 1980. We've had a really good customer base for many, many years. We know how to market well, we have franchise stores, we've got an online store; we've got a lot of really great things. You wouldn't think moving a half a block away would have such a tremendous impact, but it did."

The store owner says her previous landlords planned to completely gut the building Kazoo called home for decades, so vacating was the only choice. "The building is under construction for several years, so there wasn't even an option -- there was no place to go and no place to stay. The location we moved into was what was open in the area at the time."

Nelson purchased the store from its original owners in 1998. At one point, Kazoo was doing so well that it had a home store on Second Avenue as well as another location less than two blocks away inside the Cherry Creek Shopping center. Today, there are still franchise locations in various states and at DIA, and Nelson says Kazoo Toys online is doing great.

Prior to moving from that sacred spot on Second Avenue to the Fillmore location, Nelson says the store did plenty of advertising, covering all the bases to notify its very loyal clientele. For weeks before the move, Nelson ran ads on local radio and television stations and inside national publication Parents Magazine, as well as notifying its 30,000-customer strong list via the mail. Still, less than a year after the move, Kazoo had lost virtually all its usual business, even foot traffic.

Many simply quit coming to Cherry Creek North to shop at all, Nelson says, complaining of the near-constant construction in an area once considered more pedestrian-friendly. The lack of parking at the new location didn't help matters, either.

The store's lease goes until the end of the month, but shoppers and friends looking for one last deal -- everything is currently 50 percent off -- should head to Kazoo fast, since its retail fixtures are set to be auctioned off later this week. Or simply stop by to say a last farewell. Kazoo Toys is located at 262 Fillmore Street in Cherry Creek North -- for now.

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7 comments
DenverDoughboy
DenverDoughboy

Carlos Madrid's comment below is the kind of stupid anti small business thinking that leads to the Walmartification of American retail.  So what, Carlos, are you smiling over the fact that a locally owned store that used to bring thousands of people and dollars to town to shop for unique gifts and toys is now dark?  Are you celebrating the fact that all of Kazoo's workers no longer have a job?  The fact that many of them worked for years at Kazoo and moved with Diana to the new location belies your statement about what they thought about their jobs.  You are a petty small-minded man.  Good luck Diana, you brought a lot of joy to many children in Denver.   

Gordon Cresswell
Gordon Cresswell

I don't think they had a choice weather or not they moved; the building owners wanted to redevelop the space, they lost a lot of business from the move being in one location for so long its hard to spread the word to everyone about your move even if it is just a block away.

Carlos Madrid
Carlos Madrid

Good, the owner was a slave driver and never paid her workers a fair wage.

Jon Honegger
Jon Honegger

sucks. They never should have moved. They were in such a great location. It probably hurt pretty bad when the Tattered Cover moved also.

eefette
eefette

My very first job was wrapping presents there at that little desk in the corner of the bottom floor.  Glad I have had the opportunity to take my own son there.  I will miss Kazoo.

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