It's a good day to be a Toys "R" Us kid. That's because Toys "R" Us opened its first new store in Paramus, New Jersey Wednesday, just in time for Black Friday shopping. The best part? More stores are set to open in the coming weeks, with each location offering interactive play spaces for kids.
Under the Tru Kids Brand umbrella, Toys "R" Us unveiled its first U.S. retail store after the chain declared bankruptcy in September 2017, according to The New York Times. Located in Paramus' Westfield Garden State Plaza, the store features a "giant larger-than-life plush Geoffrey the Giraffe" at its entrance, along with climbing steps leading into Geoffrey’s Tree House, according to a press release. The magical tree house includes Geoffrey’s Magical Mirror playpod, "where a 3D virtual Geoffrey comes to life and mimics your every movement." Sign. me. up.
The stores' partner brands will also host interactive stations, including:
- The Lego Group
- Melissa & Doug
- MGA Entertainment
- Spin Master
- CRA-Z-ART (Houston store only)
Spin Master, for example, which produces Paw Patrol, will feature "all the pups from Adventure Bay and an interactive 4’ tall Lookout Tower, a Monster Jam feature shop with popular trucks from the stadium show and a life-size authentic BKT tire for photo ops, and an immersive, hands-on Kinetic Sand experience allowing kids to feel the fun and be mesmerized by sandisfying video content."
What's especially interesting about this revamp is its addition of store employees called "Play Pros." These pros will help customers discover new toys, as well as assist with in-store and online purchases.
Speaking to the interactive nature of the new stores, Richard Barry, CEO at Tru Kids, said in a statement, “With the return of Toys “R” Us stores in the U.S., we are bringing a highly engaging, experience-driven retail destination that celebrates play and deepens the connection between the world’s best toy, play and entertainment brands and customers.”
For those who are ready to visit the store ASAP, a good option is to take part in the location's Grand Opening celebration on Nov. 30. There will be "character appearances, giveaways and more." And if you live in Houston, a store will open at The Galleria, a Simon Mall in Houston, Texas on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, according to USA Today.
It remains to be seen how these new stores will fare, but combining nostalgia with new interactive features seems like a promising recipe for success.