There’s a Toys ‘R Us Near New York That’s Still Open for Business
I thought I had gone through a time portal when I came across an open Toys 'R Us store just outside of New York.
In 2018 the last Hudson Valley Toys 'R Us location closed for good. Many customers were overcome with emotions when the beloved toy store chain filed for bankruptcy after amassing $5 billion in debt. Missteps with launching its online store and increased competition from Amazon, Target and Walmart spelled the end of the "world's greatest toy store."
When the Route 9 location closed after three decades, customers were so heartbroken that children taped letters to the store's window explaining just how much shopping there meant to them. Many parents, like myself, were sad that they would no longer be able to share the Toys 'R Us experience with their children.
Toys 'R Us is Still Open?
In the five years that have passed, I still haven't come to grips with the fact that I would never set foot inside another Toys 'R Us again. Ordering toys from Amazon just isn't the same. There's no feeling like walking up and down those aisles and watching your child's eyes light up when they find something they want is just magical. So you could imagine my excitement when I happened to stumble across a real old-school Toys 'R Us store that was still open.
During a recent family trip through Upstate New York, we stopped in Niagara Falls. Little did we know that the highlight of our journey wouldn't be riding a boat through the mist of the falls, but shopping for Star Wars action figures.
A Peek Inside a Still Working Toys 'R Us
During a ride just outside of Niagara Falls, we found ourselves a few miles from the New York border in St. Catharines, Ontario. As we were traveling on the Queen Elizabeth Highway we noticed on the GPS that there was a Toys 'R Us up ahead. Even though Google listed it as "open" I assumed it was just an old listing that they forgot to delete. But as we drove past the store my jaw dropped when we saw the lights on inside.
We just had to pull over and check it out for ourselves.
Just Like We Remembered
I was speechless. The store was exactly the way I remembered it. As we walked up and down the aisles it felt like we were in some strange time warp. The board games and puzzles were on the right, with little kids toys a few aisles away. Against the back of the wall were the bikes. Dolls and "girls" toys were in the middle section and the other side of the store was filled with Hot Wheels, Star Wars toys, Nerf guns and anything else my inner-10-year-old could ever want.
It turns out that there are actually 81 Toys 'R Us locations scattered throughout the country of Canada, with several just a few miles from various New York border towns. During the company's 2018 bankruptcy, all of the Canadian stores were sold off to a financial group that later sold the company to the owner of one of the country's largest record store chains.
If you live in Upstate New York, a visit to Toys 'R Us is probably much closer than you think. You can find the closest location on the company's website and decide for yourself whether it's worth the trip. But take it from this Gen-Xer; there's no feeling like walking back into your favorite store that you thought was gone forever.
And for the record, I did buy a Star Wars action figure and almost teared up a little bit as I checked out.