Toys R Us May Be Making a Comeback, and I Could Not Be Happier!


toy stores making comeback

“I don’t wanna grow up, I am a Toys R Us kid…” If you were an 80’s child like me, you know the jingle. You remember the excitement and wonder of walking into a Toys R Us. A store full of toys! A store made for kids. Even as an adult, whenever I walked into one, I giggled with glee. As time passed, the convenience of online shopping and the expansion of toy sections (with competitive prices to boot) in big box stores have made toy stores and other specialty stores like Radio Shack obsolete. Toys R Us closed all of its stores in mid-2018. But, much to my excitement, Toys R Us may be making a comeback! And I could not be happier!

As much as I appreciate the convenience of shopping at Target and Walmart (even my daughter Ilse loves Target) for toys, there’s nothing quite like shopping at a toy store. It’s an experience that engages all the senses:  the music, the colorful décor, the smell of bubbles and candy, and the seemingly endless aisles of toys. Toy stores are to children what makeup stores like Sephora and Ulta are for me, a truly engaging experience. It’s an experience that Target or Walmart can’t replicate.

Another quality that larger stores can’t replicate is nostalgia. Whether you grew up with Toys R Us, K-B Toys, or Ambassador Toys, there’s a bit of nostalgia that’s always attached to these stores. My husband and I love telling our daughter Ilse about the toy stores we grew up with and all the different toys we liked (Legos and Transformers for him; boardgames and paint kits for me). Naturally, Ilse does not believe that toy stores exist. If they did, why haven’t we taken her there? Smart kid.

The resurrection of Toys R Us is a reminder that “brick and mortar” stores still matter. Can you imagine shopping for a wedding dress at somewhere other than a bridal shop?  Specialty stores, like toy stores, must innovate, or they risk disappearing forever. My favorite example of a specialty store that continues to innovate is Barnes and Noble. The bookstore chain has outlived many of its competitors like Borders or Virgin Megastore, because they were the first to retail e-readers. When I think of Kindle, I think of Barnes and Noble.  

Thus, one day, we will take Ilse to the newly imagined Toys R Us store and allow her to roam the aisles the way she does at Target now. Rather than passively learning about toys through Ryan’s Toy Review on YouTube, Ilse will learn about new toys at a toy store. We’d even sign up for their catalog. We want her to experience the excitement and wonder of walking through a toy store and buying a toy because that experience was such a huge part of our own childhoods. Like us, I can’t wait for her to be a “Toys R Us kid”.



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