Fans had to bid farewell to Toys ‘R’ Us earlier this year after “the world’s greatest toy store” closed down all its stores. But now, a classic toy store is set for an epic return. FAO Schwarz is returning to New York with a brand new location (see the above rendering) and grand plans to expand.
Via The Wall Street Journal, ThreeSixty Group Inc. picked up the rights for the FAO Schwarz name from Toys ‘R’ Us in 2016. The company is starting the relaunch with a new 20,000 square-foot superstore located in Rockefeller Center. The new FAO Schwarz isn’t just going to be a typical toy store, it’s meant to be an experience. It will be staffed with performers playing characters like toy soldiers, as well as magicians and “product demonstrators.”
The new store is also bringing back the giant piano that was famously played by Tom Hanks in Big. Dancers will be hired “to tap out a few tunes,” and auditions for the various performers will begin early in September. The goal is to once again make FAO Schwarz into an event destination. And they’ll be opening in time for the 2018 holiday season.
Will this lead to a nationwide revival of FAO Schwarz? For now, the company only has plans to open a smaller store in LaGuardia Airport this fall before adding a location in China next year. This isn’t going to fill the Toys ‘R’ Us shaped void in our hearts, but it’s an encouraging development for the world of toy stores.
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Images: FAO Schwarz/20th Century Fox