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Toys 'R' Us memories

Discussion in 'Collecting' started by Juke Skywalker, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Juke Skywalker

    Juke Skywalker Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2004
    As collectors probably know by now, the once venerable retail giant Toys 'R' Us has announced that it will be ceasing worldwide operations this year. At its peak, it was the toy shopping destination for kids and parents alike. There are whole host of factors in its decline, from bad business models to a changing culture thanks in no small part to the internet.

    As collectors (and in some cases now parents as well) many of us have no doubt spent as much or more time in Toys 'R' Us stores as adults than we did as kids, so I figured I would start a thread for people to share their thoughts on its closing and share any memories they have related to the franchise.

    For me growing up two also now defunct toy stores were my go-to's; Children's Palace and Kay-Bee Toys. I don't have any glowy, childhood memories of TRU, who didn't come along in my area until there was a vacuum left by the latter's departure, but as an adult, it was TRU. When I got into collecting (in no small part thanks to re-launch of the Star Wars saga w/The Phantom Menace), TRU was always a go-to destination on my toy runs (remember those?). I'd hit the three in my area up multiple times a week during the PT era. I'd also hit Target, Wal-Mart and Meijer stores, but none of them made feel like a kid again, and I think that's what I'm gonna miss the most. I can get whatever I want @ the click of a button today, but that *whoosh* of the automatic doors parting and a giant Mecca of toydom awaiting us beyond is now lost forever.
     
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  2. firesaber

    firesaber Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2006
  3. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
    I spent a lot of the 90's haunting TRUs. When I lived in CA I went all over northern Cal looking for Barbies. It was amazing I'd go into some stores and they'd have merchandise that was a few years old. Before the internet going into the stores was the best way find anything. I bought a lot of my early Hasbro SW stuff at TRUs.

    And check this little bit of news that just sparked today....KB Toys to return by Christmas
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  4. cubman987

    cubman987 Your Friendly Neighborhood CT/PT/Saga Moderator star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2014
    I'm going to miss Toys R Us terribly. I really started going there when the Power of the Force figures came out in what, 95? It's always been a place I'd go for my collecting or even just to walk around and explore if I had time to kill. I was in line for the past 3 midnight releases of Star Wars figures and had a great time doing so. It has also been a go to the last 3 + years for my daughter, so much of her bedroom, clothes , and toys came from there and I've enjoyed taking her there recently to pick our her own toys....it is very sad for me that I won't get to do that much longer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  5. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    I'll miss them as well. We only had a local store for a year or so but it was a great alternative to The Entertainer, which only has a small store in my area.
     
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  6. Juke Skywalker

    Juke Skywalker Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Wow. I knew someone would try to swoop in and take advantage of this sudden vacuum in the market, but didn't expect it to be a resurrected KB. I wonder if they'll be a Mall based company once again or if perhaps their plan is to buy up former TRU locations. Either way, cool to see an old familiar face back in the game.
     
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  7. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
    I highly doubt they'll go into malls - malls are dead. They could go into strip malls though which would be a smarter move. It'll be interesting to see if they'll learn from all of TRU's mistakes. TRU didn't advance w/ the times. They let Amazon do their distribution, they did little to bring in special events to lure people into the stores. Result, they died.
     
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  8. B99

    B99 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Nov 10, 2014
    I've spend the last couple years at my local TRU for Force Friday waiting in line in cold with 100 other enthusiasts. Great memories.. Sad seeing the store I've been going to sense I was small go.. But I guess it's time to let old things die..
     
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  9. Juke Skywalker

    Juke Skywalker Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2004
    @PadmeLeiaJaina Strip Malls are what a friend of mine said he'd heard was their game plan. Makes sense. As you said, the traditional Mall is dead for all intents and purposes.
     
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  10. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Was in my local TRU today. They're still open but I'd say about half the stock is gone. Still some SW items but nothing I wanted.
     
  11. ChrisLyne

    ChrisLyne Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Honestly it feels like saying goodbye to part of my childhood. I remember going there since I was young. I've done every midnight madness at my local store since The Phantom Menace. I remember when Toys R Us was the "home of Star Wars" in the UK and they had exclusives like the old mini line of Expanded Universe figures. Midnight Madness was always a bit of a social event, a chance to talk with other fans and collectors, but since it became an annual event that side of things became even stronger. I've met the same people in line every time, we chat, have a laugh and just enjoy catching up with each other. I'm really sad to see that go and hopefully we can arrange to meet at Smyths or whoever else does the midnight launches here in the UK.
     
  12. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    BBC News

    Charles Lazarus, founder of TRU, has died aged 94. He'd been in declining health, apparently.
     
  13. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
  14. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Whoa hold on there. TRU was doing just fine and in fact were working on things like delivers from stores. What happened to TRU was that a couple of partners with Bain Capitol bought them, took them private, and then engaged in a predatory loan scheme that shocks me as being legal. They buy the company for 6 billion or so, then only use something over a billion to make the purchase. The rest is a loan...that TRU has to pay to Bain Capitol. <Read that again. They made TRU take the debt burden that they used to buy them in the first place. TRU goes out of business, and Bain Capitol makes a lot of money. Why this is legal is beyond me.
     
  15. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    "Worldwide"? TRU will still be around in the Nordic countries at least.
     
  16. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Was in my local one today. A sign in the window said there were 8 days to go before they close. Some SW stuff left but nothing I wanted. However if you were after a 6" Black Kylo Ren you could have had it for about £7. There were quite a few of those!
     
  17. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
  18. B99

    B99 Force Ghost star 6

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    Nov 10, 2014
    lol
     
  19. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Stores in US and Canada. Won't help here in the UK.
     
  20. whostheBossk

    whostheBossk Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Well the bid from CEO Isaac Marian was declined by TRU. Not much hope left for at least so.e stores to remain open. I did a tribute on Force Friday at midnight by driving by my local TRU and did a video of remembering the good times.
     
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  21. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Was in town today and it's the last day of my TRU. Most stuff was gone but there were 2 pegs worth of Rose 3.5 inch figures. Guess we know the pegwarmer. That was about it SW-wise.
     
  22. PadmeLeiaJaina

    PadmeLeiaJaina Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Registered:
    May 23, 2002
    Well I guess he'll have to just come up w/ a new store. At least we do have KayBee is coming by end of year to help to fill in the hole.
     
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  23. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    My TRU has closed. I was in town today and the store windows were papered over with 'For Lease' signs.
     
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  24. CrazyMike

    CrazyMike JC Collecting Manager and RSA Canada star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 4, 2000
    Toys Are Us here in Canada was bought by another company is still open. I have a store that is walking distance from where iI live and for now, at least it is business as usual. I guess we will have to see how things go. I have so many happy memories of Toy R US. One of my most vivid ones was when EP1 came out and they had a midnight madness sale. I must have been on several tv stations at the time with the 2 foot long reciept and saying to reporters that my wife is going to kill me. Several friends were in the background laughing away.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
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  25. CrazyMike

    CrazyMike JC Collecting Manager and RSA Canada star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 4, 2000
    And I just saw a commercial for Toys R Us Canada. All the stores in Canada are now Canadian owned.