Holy giant piano! Iconic toy store FAO Schwarz is making an epic comeback this holiday season. The company was purchased by Toys "R" Us in 2009, went out of business in 2015, then was purchased by ThreeSixty Group Inc. in 2016.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, ThreeSixty is looking to revitalize the FAO name all over the world, starting with a massive location that will open at Rockefeller Center in New York City this November.
The now-defunct store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue was once the be-all-end-all of toy stores, featuring heavily in films like 1988's Big and 1992's Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and, more recently, 2011's The Smurfs. Remember when Tom Hanks played "Heart and Soul" on the big piano with Robert Loggia? Yeah, that was shot inside of FAO Schwarz.
The newly-opened store won't be the same as you remember it, but much, much better. In fact, the description sounds like every kid's dream of what a toy retailer should be. In an attempt to compete with the likes of online purchasing (*cough* Amazon *cough*), ThreeSixty is planning to make its FAO Schwarz a complete experience, a kid-friendly wonderland that will include live performers such as dancers (for the piano, of course) and magicians right on the premises.
“We’re looking for people who can deliver that sense of theater,” said David Conn, ThreeSixty Brands’ chief executive, who also revealed that the store will be holding auditions beginning on Sep. 8.
The real estate loaction at 30 Rock is no doubt expensive, but the Lazarus-like resurrection of an American icon is a bright spot that helps diminish the sadness caused by the closing of Toys "R" Us earlier this year.
FAO Schwarz was founded in 1862 by the German-born Frederick August Otto Schwarz,and his two brothers, writes Fortune Magazine. The store, inititally called "Toy Bazaar," fell out of Schwarz family ownership in the early '60s, progressing through a great number of different owners throughout the years.