Friday, June 25, 2021

The history of the Times Square Toys R Us and evolution of Geoffrey the Giraffe, tales of the Retail Apocalypse

I told my readers to "Stay tuned tomorrow for another light-hearted look at the Retail Apocalypse" at the end of The rise, fall, rise, and fall again of Chuck E. Cheese, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse. I begin with a video I have been sitting on for six months, Defunctland's Defunctland: The History of Toys "R" Us Times Square.

In this one-off episode, Kevin dives into the flagship location of the iconic toy retailer Toys "R" Us in the heart of Times Square in New York City.
My reaction was "Defunctland does the Retail Apocalypse — now, that's an event!" Yes, it is. I also couldn't resist pointing out the YouTuber I most associate with the intersection between theme parks and the Retail Apocalypse: "*Looks at the video description and sees Jake Williams' name.* I knew Bright Sun Films had to be involved in this somehow."

Kevin Purjurer of Defunctland focused on the last two decades of the Toys R Us's history, including the leveraged buyout, which I see as the first domino to fall in the sequence of events that led to the death and rebirth of Toys R Us, and the closings of FAO Schwarz's Fifth Avenue store and Toys R Us's Times Square store. Somehow, I never mentioned FAO Schwarz in connection with Toys R Us, but that's because ThreeSixty Group bought the chain in 2016, before the Toys R Us bankruptcy. Consequently, FAO Schwarz still exists, opening a new flagship store at Rockefeller Center on November 18, 2018. I'm glad to report some good retail news for once.

For a longer range tale told through a different narrow lens, I turn to Disney Dan's Evolution of Toys R Us Geoffrey Giraffe - DIStory Dan Ep. 44, which covers the entire history of the chain through its mascot.

Geoffrey The Giraffe was a classic part of any visit to #ToysRUs for over 40 years!
Feel the nostalgia!

After a week of being in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood, I might be able to approach a serious subject more seriously tomorrow, although it's close enough to World Population Day that I might hold off on writing about falling birth rates until then. Stay tuned.

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