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Burbank shoppers visit local Toys R Us before expected closure

Shoppers visit the Toys R Us in Burbank on Monday, March 19, 2018. The chain has declared bankruptc
Shoppers visit the Toys R Us in Burbank on Monday, March 19, 2018. The chain has declared bankruptcy and will shuttering all of its U.S. stores.
(Roger Wilson / Burbank Leader)

It is only a matter of time before all 735 Toys R Us stores in the country will be closed, but until then, shoppers are visiting their local stores to support the once-premier toy retailer.

On Tuesday morning, a steady stream of people walked in and out of the Burbank Toys R Us, located at 683 N. Victory Blvd., where some were trying to find a deal, while others were stopping by to buy or exchange a gift.

Despite the impending closure or buyout, employees were still busy stocking the shelves and displays with various toys. Little to no items were discounted or on sale. In the front of the store, there was a sale on the various themes of the Monopoly board game and, in the back, there was a sign that promoted all Dr. Seuss books at 30% off.

At least a dozen customers were in the store at any given time that morning. Some walked through the store alone, while Burbank resident Kelly Froelich was with her three children.

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Froelich said she and her family stopped by the Burbank store to use a gift card her son had recently received, which he proudly used on a toy drone.

She recalled visiting the local store when she was a child and getting excited about seeing the Barbie DreamHouse Playset and all the dolls she wanted. When she heard the news about the Wayne, N.J.-based company liquidating all of its stores, Froelich said she was saddened to think her childhood Toys R Us will be gone.

“You come here, and you make memories here as a kid, and then you come here with your husband and kids and make new memories,” she said. “There’s just a lot of memories.”

Studio City residents Stephen and Lori Saux were at the Burbank location exchanging a gift their son received that was more appropriate for a younger child. They returned a toy dinosaur and got instead an illustrated Star Wars book and an Uno card game.

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The couple remembered the Toys R Us jingle that played during one of its commercials and the catalogues they used to have during the holidays.

The Sauxes said they have shopped at many Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores over the years with their children, and it surprised Stephen Saux that a well-known toy retailer like Toys R Us could not stay afloat.

“You go to a Toys R Us store and it looks and feels like a store that was definitely around when I was a kid,” he said. “It just seems like if I had this logo, which is iconic, I could take that logo and put that on my store and it would be worth millions, if it was done right.”

Stephen Saux added that he thinks the company’s unwillingness to change with the times and adapt to what retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon are doing doomed Toys R Us.

“Toys R Us hasn’t updated their stores in forever,” he said. “We’re looking at the same flooring, the same lighting and same warehouse-style layout.”

Lori Saux said she always appreciated the wide array of toys available at Toys R Us, adding that she will remember her daughter running through the different sections of the store and finding a toy she liked.

“I’ll have to bring our daughter back one more time so that she can run around and pick her favorite things,” she said.

anthonyclark.carpio@latimes.com

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Twitter: @acocarpio


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