I can't peg the year, but I want to say around 1985-86. Definitely post-crash. It had been a couple of years since I moved on from my home consoles and onto the Commodore 64, but there was a period where I started to pull out my old consoles - Intellivision, Colecovision, and the 5200 - and I immediately fell back in love with the 5200. I remember looking around for games for the 5200 I didn't have, especially since bargain bins were full of cheap games after the video game crash - but I remember having trouble finding 5200 games in store.
I stopped by my local Toys R Us and asked the kid behind the cage if they had any 5200 games left, and they said no, but he wrote down an address for me to write to where I may be able to mail order some games. This TRU was in suburban Chicago, BTW (Merrillville, IN, near Southlake Mall).
So I wrote to this company (I *think* they were in California, maybe Texas?) and a couple of weeks later I got this multipage list of products they were selling for cheap. It wasn't a catalog, more like a Xeroxed listing of products. I mean, brand new factory sealed games for like $5, new controllers and accessories. I remember specifically, I ordered the Gremlins game for $8 and the roller controller for $15 (!). I think I spent $35 in total for a few games, a new joystick and the roller controller.
Recently, I've been really curious who this mystery company was. It definitely wasn't Atari. Could it have been Best back then? And a bonus, if perhaps someone would have a copy of that mail order product list, it would be amazing to see that again.
Oh, and extra kudos to that kid in the TRU games cage who actually knew, long after Atari stopped production of the 5200, where I could still buy games for that system!