Back in 1978, when Natalie Canull started her first premier toy store at the Fashion Mall here in Indianapolis, she called it Kits & Kaboodle, planning to offer unique and upscale toys that she had personally selected. Twenty years later, edged out of the mall, she moved her store to Carmel. Timing was not good, with competition in upscale and educational toys coming from Zainy Brainy (which later itself went bankrupt) and Toys ‘R Us. Toys ‘R Us, in turn, was struggling against Target and Walmart. Finally, in the early 2000’s, the toy story had seemingly come to an end – Kits and Kaboodle filed bankruptcy with more than $700,000 in debt.
Backed by investors, Canull made a second go of Kits & Kaboodle in the Glendale Mall, but the store continued to struggle. In 2005 the owners moved the store to Carmel and decided to part company with Canull. Her toy story truly appeared to have drawn to a close. But, thirteen months ago, using bank credit, Natalie opened Mass Ave.Toys in a building owned by her sister and brother-in-law, selling toys “you couldn’t find anywhere else”.
This past fall ( I particularly love this part of the story), Wal-mart cut prices on toys 10-50% on 100 of its toys, then two weeks later cut prices on 15,000 different items, including toys. Meanwhile, Mass Ave. Toys sold out almost all its inventory, paid all its bills, and had money left over in profit! With concerns about the safety of toys making headlines, Canull’s hand-picked toy selection was what her customers wanted. By the way, if you want to read more about Kits & Kaboodle, there was a good writeup in the Indianapolis Business Journal at http://cms.ibj.com.
As a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, I wanted to bring this story to all my blog readers. This is such a great example of coming out the other side. When people are facing financial problems and thinking about their options, they perceive bankruptcy to be the end of their business dream, the last chapter in their story. But, having worked as a consumer bankruptcy attorney for all these years, I know that very often it’s bankruptcy that’s going to make possible both a new beginning and a happy ending to their story.