Business is never a guarantee. There are plenty of brands that have come and gone throughout the recent decades, more when you consider the ebb and flow of business throughout the last century. Some of these iconic brands are sorely missed. Even though you might still see some of these iconic names here and there, make no mistake that the companies themselves have closed their doors and shut down. So without further ado, here are the top 10 brands that ceased to exist.
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Here are Top 10 Brands That Ceased to Exist
10. F. W. Woolworth
This is one of the pioneer companies that revolutionized the five and dime approach to retail. They offered quality products for a very cheap price, which made them one of the most recognizable names throughout their iconic reign in retail. The stores initially opened in 1879, making it the oldest company that will be on this list. The problems began when the traditionally cheap store began to raise prices to turn the image of the company into department stores and less of the five and dime stores that people loved them for. During this process of reinventing their image to the general public, many new stores were opened all across the country. With the decline in business, they were not able to maintain themselves and were stretched too thin to survive. The iconic store brand officially folded up shop across the country in 1997.
9. Compaq Computers
Once computer moguls, Compaq was always deemed one of the most successful in sales of desktop computers. Their most successful time for the company came through the early and mid 1990’s, which saw a big boom in the sales of desktop computers for use in residences all over the world. The brand struggled to transition to the changing tech for desktops, and failed completely in their offerings regarding laptop computers. This contributed to the company eventually being bought out by one of the most successful computer manufacturers in the world today, HP (Hewlett Packard). Compaq officially was no more when the deal took place (that seemed more like a merge) in 2002. The company existed for 20 years.
8. Oldsmobile Cars
One of two vehicle manufacturers that will be featured on this list, Oldsmobile was a classic example of doing too little too late. Known most for their larger vehicles, the brand could not modify their designs quickly enough when the market was hungry for fuel efficient and smaller vehicles throughout the 1990’s. While the brand would continue to limp along through this time period, selling far fewer vehicles than what they needed to stay afloat, the late 1990’s and early 2000’s would see a sleeker version of the Oldsmobile model coming out to try and give people what they were wanting. Unfortunately this was not enough to pull the brand out from its slump, and they officially went bankrupt in 2004. The company had existed for over 100 years.
7. Circuit City
A former juggernaut of electronics and all things related to them, Circuit City seemed to have quite a profitable life following closely behind the unrivaled successes of Best Buy. What was happening behind the scenes of the company was another story entirely, however. An undisclosed financial problem would arise and put a strain on the entire company that they would never be able to fully recover from. While they managed to limp along in hopes of a resurgence to the brand, the few remaining stores all across the United States closed simultaneously in 2008.
When people would think of the greatest bookstore chains of all time, there are only three which tend to come to mind. Borders would be considered among these, along with Books a Million and Barnes and Noble. When the entire market would go digital with e-readers offering e-books and digital magazines, Borders had a hard time making that transition along with the change. While there was a place for traditional books to be sold, without the other half of the equation Borders simply could not keep making a profit and eventually needed to close up shop. 2011 would see the end of the then struggling company, leaving the market to be split between the two remaining popular bookstore options.
5. GM Vehicles
General Motors is the second car maker to make an appearance on this list of brands that ceased to exist. While this iconic automotive company managed to do just about everything right throughout its hundred plus year run, they made simple mistakes that ended up costing them greatly. The first and likely most important of these were not making changes based on negative customer feedback. This kind of fed into their other fatal error for the company, which was not investing in the latest technology and advancements for vehicles at the time, which made their functionality pale in comparison to other vehicles in the same price brackets. The decline in business would cause the company to fold in on itself in 2009.
4. Zenith Electronics
Televisions, audio hardware and more were the wheelhouse of Zenith Electronics. While there were all kinds of companies that were vying (and are still vying) for the best in this niche of sales, Zenith saw a large span of time when they were among the top brands available. Not fully being able to adjust to the new formatting of televisions would force Zenith to consider their options. LG would eventually buy the brand out, removing one of its primary competitors in the process. You will still see a handful of Zenith products out there, but these are only put out by LG in an effort to diversify and appeal to a market looking for cheaper alternatives to high end electronics. Zenith would be bankrupted and bought out in 1999, having been in business since 1918.
File sharing is something that is so common on the internet anymore that it kind of makes this particular brand ending one of the most important for shaping the course of events since its demise. Napster was a company built on peer to peer file sharing, primarily individual songs and audio files. Throughout countless lawsuits from bands and artists about the legality of sharing these files for free through the use of this software, Napster was unable to keep itself going and went belly up. The coding for the process however, would be learned by hundreds of successors to Napster, making file sharing a common practice (albeit typically illegal) on the internet.
How do you go from being a juggernaut in the photography world to a company that ceases to exist? You fail to move along with the changing formats of what photography would require of you. Namely, Polaroid’s biggest trouble came when they simply outright refused to transition to a digital format in its camera offerings, which became the norm in cameras for almost a decade. By the time they would provide the world with a camera that measured up to other offerings on the market, and offered customers a completely digital experience, it would be far too late. The company would be closing its doors completely within the last few years.
1. Blockbuster Video
For decades people clamored into storefronts night after night to rent VHS movies and DVDs. Blockbuster was one of the most successful chain stores to ever offer this all over the country, and often at a competitive and affordable rental cost. However, with the introduction of digital streaming content online through services like Netflix, Blockbuster needed to make a quick transition to offer the same kind of content to its customer base and couldn’t manage to make that happen. The introduction of standalone rental centers like Redbox really didn’t help Blockbuster and companies like it either, offering a condensed experience at an unbeatable nightly rate for new releases. After struggling through online mediums and trying desperately to keep the store fronts operational, the company could not keep up with its mounting debt and sold out to Dish Network in 2013.
These are a few of the iconic brands that no longer exist. While they were each at one point at the top of their respective fields, they have all floundered in the face of their competitions for one reason or another. The most common of these seems to be not changing with the times and staying ahead of what the next phase of your market is, which should be a lesson to all of the successful businesses right now. Pay attention to the changing face of your business model, or go the way of these iconic brands that no longer exist.