As former top dog retailer Toys R' Us shuts its doors, specialty toy stores expect to thrive

As former top dog retailer Toys R' Us shuts its doors, specialty toy stores expect to thrive
(Bria Bell/WBTV)
(Bria Bell/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Friday marked the beginning of the end for Toys R' Us, a place you've likely taken your kids shopping, or even have fond memories from when you were young.

Liquidation sales are underway now after the company announced it would be closing all of its 735 U.S. stores and filing for bankruptcy because of the rapid rate it was losing money.

Toys R' Us has been a childhood staple for seven decades and was known as a place for kids to pick out the perfect toy for "the best" price.

"It's been with us probably longer than any other store you think about," says Wimberly Earp, mother and customer.

Now that the store's days are numbered, in a business move that many shoppers did not see coming, mom and pop toy shops believe this may open the door for local businesses to thrive.

"It's contagious, it's a great environment, it's fun to come to work," says Sherry Stone, manager at the Cotswold Village location of Toys & Co.

She says for years, her specialty store has always played a back seat to Toys R' Us, but now that the mega-store is closing, she can show off everything her store has to offer.

"You're going to see some of the same toys at Toys R' Us, but we offer specialty toys you've probably never seen," says Stone.

Stone believes Toys R' Us struggled in its fight to remain open due to a disconnect between its customers.

She says bases are covered for Toys & Co. in that regard, as she and the rest of the company prides itself on community relations.

"You have to stay on top of it and as a mom and pop, we're able to react a lot quicker," says Stone.

Managers at Toys & Co. say they are open to hiring those who will be out looking for a new job  because Toys R' Us is closing down.

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