It turns out we don't have to grow up after all because Toys "R" Us officially returned today with a brick and mortar location in Paramus, New Jersey after the iconic toy company announced it was going out of business last winter. The brand had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2017.
The store can be found on the second floor of the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall and contains a tree house, a reading area, and even a "cinema," according to News 12 New Jersey (a local affiliate of CNN). The iconic Toys "R" Us mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, was present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this morning.
In addition to being a purveyor of toys like it was before, the retailer has smartly transformed into a sort of play park for young people. Moreover, it offers customers the chance to virtually purchase items that aren't physically in stock.
"This store has about 1,500 items, but through the technology in the store, you can buy over 15,000 items today," Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids (the corporation that took over Toys "R" Us in October) told News 12.
“They’re creating an experiential-type place. A place where they’re inviting their former customers to come and experience toys, which is something that you can’t do with traditional outlets or online," Marc Kalan, a marketing professor at Rutgers Business School, told NJ Advance Media.
Another physical store is set to open at a mall in Houston, Texas this Sunday, Dec. 1.
Last March, Toys "R" Us confirmed that it would be closing 800 of its locations in the United States. This was chalked up to intense competition from e-commerce sites like Amazon.
After massive liquidation sales across the country and a rave in London, the spark of hope was reignited when the former CEO voiced his interest in a "reboot" of the brand. A bankruptcy auction was canceled while plans were conceived for six new interactive locations, as well as an e-commerce platform with some help of Target.
Two pop-up shops in Chicago and Atlanta opened at the end of October.