Last night, ThinkGeek — a longtime partner of the Pop Insider — announced that they are “moving back in with the parents.” That’s one way to spin it, but the reality is that GameStop, which purchased ThinkGeek in 2015, is dismantling its pop-centric subsidiary, and the ThinkGeek that we all know and love is shutting down. This news comes despite the company answering “nope” to “Is ThinkGeek shutting down?” on its own FAQ.
In fact, the ThinkGeek administrative and web staff was laid off by June 7, confirmed to Yahoo! just days after recently appointed CEO George Sherman made it clear that redundancies in the collectibles business between ThinkGeek and GameStop would soon be addressed.
On GameStop’s quarterly earnings call last week, Sherman said, “What we’ll do with ThinkGeek is produce a redirect. So we’ll be leveraging off the GameStop platform to still have a presence for ThinkGeek, and still have that brand at least initially, while we consolidate the backend operations.” While the brand is still alive for now, it’s moving to being “a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com in a ThinkGeek section at GameStop,” so the writing is on the wall.
For the last two decades, we here at ThinkGeek have had more fun than a barrel of monkeys being the destination retailer…
Founded in 1999 by Geeknet, ThinkGeek grew into a successful online destination for pop culture collectibles, eventually being acquired by GameStop after the retailer outbid Hot Topic to assume control of the brand. Two months later, ThinkGeek moved into the brick-and-mortar space with its first retail location.
Over the past four years, ThinkGeek has grown to more than 40 physical retail locations in addition to an increased branded presence within more than 3,700 GameStop stores. While the site is being shuttered on July 2, physical stores are said to be unaffected and will remain open for business … for now.
If a clue to the shutdown was to be had, it may have been on May 1, when ThinkGeek marked all clearance items down to 75% off, and then added a 25% discount sitewide at checkout. Following last night’s announcement, the entire site is now 50% off, so there are great deals to be had, but with the actual ThinkGeek staff already gone, the FAQ warns that “ALL SALES ARE FINAL,” and that you “may not receive a confirmation email.” They add, “please screenshot or write down your order confirmation number in case this happens.” Sounds legit.
GameStop is a retailer that we’ve been watching closely for ages, and the company’s success in the toy and collectibles realm was featured in the Winter 2019 issue of the Pop Insider.