A 25 year old entrepreneur named Charles Lazarus opened a baby supply store named Children's Supermart back in 1948. He did it to fill a growing demand during the baby boom after the end of World War II. That same store became the Toys R Us chain and after surviving for 70 years, went bankrupt last month. Lazarus died one week later.
We've all gotten used to store closings in the era of Amazon but the death of Toys R Us seems to pull at the heart strings more than most. It was not only a store, but an experience and a memory embedded in the childhoods of many.
Guy Chapman's mini-documentary (below) takes you on a personal journey of the rise and fall of Toys R Us. He also exposes a sinister side of the reason for the failure of the chain. His childhood and the memories created by Toys R Us brought tears to my eyes as it also reflects upon the end of an era. As Guy says, getting a toy in the mail from a warehouse is not quite the same to a little kid as trying it out first at the store.
The end of Toys R Us is for myself and anyone born before 1985 a reminder that we were really the last children raised with a tangible life, where a person's formative years were spent in a world connecting more with people, places and things than online. We weren't growing up flooded with constant stimuli competing for our attention and artificial intelligence was not a part of our daily lives. Like it or not a new day is here and most of us who didn't grow up with it are making it work because we have to and also want to...it's a love/hate situation with technology. As Jasper from the Simpsons would say "What a Time to Be Alive."
Speaking of memories the final day of business for Toys R Us (and Babies R Us) is June 30. The stores are still open and holding their liquidation sales. There are a few months left to stop in, bring a kid and make a final Toys R Us memory.
Link to the Toys R Us video
More from Guy Chapman, Corsicana Daily Sun columnist