The Topps Discount Stores chain was started in Hartford, Connecticut, by Frank Beckerman and Selwyn Lemchen. The first Topps store (30,000 sq. ft.) was opened in Hartford in 1956. A larger second store (60,000 sq. ft.) was opened the following year in New Haven, Connecticut. The second store also include a supermarket section. In March 1960, the ninth store in the chain and the first store in the Midwest was opened in Niles, Illinois, in a shopping complex that included a supermarket and a drug store in which no walls separated the three businesses. Another Topps was quickly open in Fairfield, Connecticut.
By 1960, the chain had 10 stores in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Some of the stores were known as Topps Discount City and others as Topps Discount Center.
In 1960, Interstate purchased the 10-unit Connecticut-based Topps Department Store chain for an undisclosed amount.
The rapid growth in the Topps division also cause declines in the department store division and force the conventional department stores to close.
All Topps store were closed by 1974 when Interstate filed for bankruptcy. At the time of announcement of Interstate's bankruptcy, Topps had nine stores that it intended to continue operating and was in process of closing 11 stores after just finishing closing an additional 41 stores.
A similarly named but unrelated Canadian chain that was owned by Topp's Discount Department Stores, Ltd. had operated in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from 1962 to 1969.