Toys R Us closes its flagship Times Square store

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Toys R Us closes its flagship Times Square store
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / Mack Male

Toys R Us has had a flagship store in Times Square since 2001, but no more. The company has closed the store following the shutting down of FAO Schwartz.

This was one of the biggest toy stores ever. It covered 21 000 square feet in the heart of Times Square. The store featured a life-size Barbie dollhouse, a 20-footanimatronic T-Rex dinosaur and even a 60-foot indoor Ferris wheel.

The company said the renting costs for the huge store have become way too high so it has decided not to renew. It will be now searching for another location in Manhattan to reopen the store. Everyone of the 350+ employees who worked at the store will be offered different positions within the company until a new store location is found.

The fate of the flagship Times Square Toys R Us store is the same as the FAO Schwartz which closed in July 2015. The reasons were the same – high renting costs. Toys R Us is owner of FAO Schwartz. The company is currently looking for a new location for this store as well. It is expected that both stores will reopen sometime in 2016 or 2017 but will probably be smaller than before.

Unsurprisingly the news was greeted with a lot of sadness from kids and even quite a few adults. People were sad to see their favorite store close down. “It’s a one-in-a-million type of place,” said Janet Roman, of Berlin, Connecticut, as she gave her 9-year-old grand-nephew, Sherman Williams, his first and last tour of the over-the-top store to The News Herald. “Our Toys R Us doesn’t have a Ferris wheel in it.”

“When they were little guys, this was the big thing. This is like an event to come here. It’s an afternoon. It’s obviously fun for all ages”, says Mike Packer, of Wayne, Pennsylvania, whose 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter decided, for nostalgia’s sake, to take a final spin. Most of the store shelves were empty already so this added to the daunting dim feeling of the place going away.

“It was crazy today. A lot of emotion. Some people were crying, tears down their face. But for me it’s a relief. It’s a weight off my shoulders. But I’m never going to forget it. And these have been the best years of my life”, says Donald Vivanco to the Daily News. Vivanco worked at the store for the last five years.