Pop-Tarts World Closes for Good on Dec. 31

Customers at Pop-Tarts WorldNow it's official -- Pop-Tarts World will be toast on Dec. 31. The Manhattan theme store for the breakfast pastry is closing for good New Year's Eve, parent company Kellogg told WalletPop.

It was previously reported elsewhere that Pop-Tarts World was going to stay open as late as February and then make way for a three-story retail building and public plaza at its space on 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway.But the firmed-up commitment to shutter one of the oddest branding manifestations I've seen will now leave junk-food junkies with just days to revel in the not-so-cheap sugar highs.

Kellogg said it had no immediate plan for a relocation and reopening. "We are evaluating this successful experience as we plan more exciting activities for 2011 and beyond," Kellogg spokesman Michael Morrissey wrote in an email to WalletPop. "There are no specific details about the brand's plans at this time."

Its opening in August was breathlessly reported. This WalletPopper weighed in as well. Tourists flocked there. Foodies blogged about the Pop-Tarts Sushi. Then the novelty seemed to fade.

On a sunny Tuesday this week, as holiday shoppers and out-of-towners were flooding Gotham, the store, seen in the photo, right, around 1 p.m., was as quiet as Kellogg's Rice Krispies without milk. I counted just three patrons during one brief spell.

Told the store was closing, Susan Bishop of Denver, Colo., said to WalletPop, "I can see why."

Bishop and her husband had walked in to buy a $25 T-shirt with three pick-your-own decals for their 10-year-old son. Despite a giant sign above advertising the deal, they were told the station was just for adding condiments to actual Pop-Tarts. A retail clerk later explained that the printer who irons on the designs didn't work until a later shift, so no T-shirts for now. (The waffle-iron-like applicators were nowhere to be seen either -- hmmm.)

For a theme store built around a budget-priced, prebaked turnover (an eight-pack box costs around $3 in many stores), Pop-Tarts World sure is expensive on some fronts. Just as I remembered. Ready-to-wear T-shirts for $20 still hung from the racks next to $14 coffee mugs. I saw one visitor use the Varietizer, the vending machine that dispenses six two-packs of flavors chosen by the customer for $12.

But I don't think Kellogg has anything to worry about. Americans, including myself despite a household ban on the treats, eat nearly 2 billion Pop-Tarts a year, according to a company newsletter. Who needs a theme store with those kinds of numbers?

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