Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Toys R Us Closing 180+ US Stores

In what is legitimately sad news for me personally, Toys R Us announced the closure of 180+ US stores today including several that I still routinely visit.

First article I saw about it was from CNBC, and it contains the full list. The Fayetteville, GA store is "my home store," and the Douglasville, GA store was a frequent stop as well when we went to Arbor Place Mall.

Even one of my major out of town stops is gone as the Tuscaloosa, AL one is closing as well.

The only remotely good news in all this for me is that the Kennesaw, GA store (near Town Center Mall) will remain open as will the McDonough, GA, and Hoover, AL stores.

The Hoover one is near the Riverchase Galleria which is pretty well known in these parts as the home of SEC Media Days.  That changes this year as the 2018 SEC Media Days will move to the College Football Hall of Fame in ATL.  This article notes that change is NOT permanent, and the event will be back in  Hoover next year.

This shot from the CNBC article linked above lists the Georgia stores.

The Newnan, GA location is actually just a Babies R Us. I'm not familiar enough with the rest to offer much insight. Honestly, I don't think I want to know all the malls that losing their nearby TRUs yet. Someone did inform me just now that there was a small section of toys in there, but the signage never indicated that it was a Toys R Us like the big dual-branded stores.

The news is sad for me in a nostalgic way as these will always be fondly remembered as happy places from my childhood.  As an adult collector it's a loss as well, but I think what has gotten me the most here is how it affects some of the quality time we spend with our children as they are both still elementary school age.  Unfortunately, their age was going to cause a change to this anyway, but this action hastens that change. 

For example my son and I currently have a birthday tradition of doing the following:

  • Go to Moe's Southwest Grill in Fayetteville, GA

  • Spend any gift card and/or money from our birthdays at Toys R Us, Target, and Walmart

  • Swing by my parents' house in Fayetteville to show off our haul

Obviously, Walmart, Target, and Moe's will still be there, but as an adult collector and former child (possibly current child) I can tell you there's a HUGE difference between walking into a honest to goodness toy store.

I have fond memories of going to a TRU grand opening and getting to see Darth Vader walk the aisles. It was a common stop when we visited either Southlake Mall (that TRU closed several years ago) or more commonly Shannon Mall (that TRU moved to Fayetteville).  It was always exciting whether I got to buy anything or not.

When I worked in Jonesboro, GA I often went over to the Morrow store during lunch just to browse. This was especially the case when I was having a rough day. It was just a nice break in the adulthood action. 

To put all of this in perspective for my usual audience who doesn't collect figures...

Walking into a Toys R Us for me is a nostalgic experience in the same way watching older wrestling footage is.  It takes you back to a simpler/happy time, and helps take away some of the stress of adulthood.

If you're wondering why a full-grown adult is bummed out by this news, I hope this post helps.

UPDATE: After this post Toys R Us announced they are closing an additional 200 stores, but those have not been publicly identified yet.