Toys R Us closing: Palm Beach Gardens store looks like ghost town


It used to be teeming with toys, a wonderland of games and bikes and dolls and video games for kids of all ages, from babies to adults.

Now, the Toys R Us store on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens looks like a ghost town.

The signs say it all:

Final 8 days. 70 percent off. No cash. Everything must go.

Yellow caution tapes rope off swaths of empty shelves. Even the fixtures are for sale.

The 700-plus Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores across the country are shuttering for good on Friday, part of a liquidation process that began in March. That includes locations in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and Jensen Beach.

But there were still some shoppers looking for reduced-price bargains, and lamenting the end of an era.

“I am sad,” said LaShawn Anderson, of Lake Park, who along with her children and grandchildren had two shopping carts filled to the brim with Shopkins and other slashed-price toys Friday night at the PGA store.

“It was a great place for the kids. They always had stuff that I wanted.”

Anderson, who works in daycare, was loading up with toys for both her job and for Christmas presents for 17 grandchildren. This was her fifth visit in three weeks, since the store began cutting prices to the bone.

There was a sad air among the handful of adults wandering around. But kids, being kids, were still excited at the slim pickings on the shelves. A toy, after all, is still a toy. Even if there were not that many left.

Unless you were looking for Power Rangers play sets (cut from $49.99 to $19.99), Risky Raceway games, Zhu Zhu hamsters, Teletubbies dolls, an assortment of Star Wars toys and an Iron Man inflatable head.

On one item — a Little Tykes Magical Unicorn Carrier — the prices were marked out in descending order: $149.99. $74.99. $59.99.

Everything must go.

Some readers on Facebook recalled Toys R Us’ heyday. There were other toy emporiums, like Lionel Playworld and KayBee Toys, but “Toys R Us was the BIG store,” recalled Graham Brunk.

Especially the Okeechobee Boulevard location.

“I remember going there to buy a blow up pool with my grandma on Okeechobee Boulevard,” wrote Jennifer Hill, who grew up in Jupiter. “In the ’80s when Cabbage Patch kids were the craze, my grandma got into a fight getting my sister and I one.”

Toys R Us “was always our go to trip after doctor or dentist and everything in between,” recalled Lisa Martinson. “The kids went weekly as an activity just to roam the aisles and never left empty handed.”

Some believe this didn’t have to be the end. As much as shoppers will miss the store, it also means a loss of jobs for employees, a reported 33,000 across the country. And in the final days, they are letting their unhappiness be known.

Taped throughout the PGA store are bright red posters that take aim at the private equity firms that purchased Toys R Us and employees say saddled the company with millions in debt:

“Amazon didn’t kill Toys R Us,” the posters declared, “Wall Street greed did.”

But companies like Amazon may be the beneficiary of Toys R Us’ demise. Shopper LaShawn Anderson had one word when asked where she would go to buy toys in the future:

“Online.”



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