When Creative Kidstuff's CEO announced last month that it is closing all of its six stores, many of the stores' 150 employees heard about it from news reports. Some landlords also got the news via the media before Creative Kidstuff could meet with them.

"The goal was to tell staff before it broke to the media," said Creative Kidstuff chief executive Roberta Bonoff in a recent interview.

The plan was to tell management staff on the morning of April 3, which Bonoff did, but the news broke so quickly that managers did not have time to contact all of their staff. "News broke before we could get to all of our employees. That was not the goal at all."

Unlike some companies that start a going-out-of-business sale, Creative Kidstuff retained its employees instead of hiring a liquidator to run the sale. Everything is currently 40% off in the six stores in Edina, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Minnetonka, Bloomington and Minneapolis.

Bonoff explained that it was a joint decision to close the stores by her and the owner, Tim Kunin with Greatergood.org of Seattle. "We had to look at the bricks-and-mortar business and decide what to do," she said. The company tried to sell the brand but no buyer came forward. When all the alternatives ran out, closing became the last option.

"We're trying to do this with the highest integrity. My biggest apologies if we didn't meet that standard," Bonoff said. 

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