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October 2018 Retro Gaming Article


October 4, 2018 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

The prospects of a Toys R Us revival seem hinged on a pop-up shop strategy, Geoffrey's Toy Box

Geoffrey's Toy Box
Positioned inside another retailer, like Target, the shop would be similar to the Coffee shops seen inside such stores.
Rumors of a Toys R Us comeback have folks hoping the vacant storefronts will suddenly come back to life... full of toys. Alas, the business world does't move that fast... or that way. The lenders now want to fill the void left by the toy-giant's demise.

The most prominent theory travelling around the web is Geoffrey-themed pop-up stores - aptly named Geoffrey's Toy Box - some situated inside larger retailers. This would be similar to the way Starbucks exists inside many Target locations. Starting small sounds good, but what should a new TRU really be? Few knew what they were formerly.

The Misunderstood Premium Model

Toys R Us was a premium toy store. With plentiful locations featuring massive stores full of a wide variety of items, they were unlike anyone else. Their stature separated them from the competition. When I was a kid, TRU was the only place to go for the enormous variety. Such an offering is not inexpensive. It takes a lot to maintain such a lavish inventory.

When I was a kid, this model held up and allowed TRU to rule the toy sector at retail. In today's economy, folks will drive to the next town to save a nickel. Price is the guiding factor. Many "toys" have become commodity items, sought after based on the lowest price. Forget quality. Dollars are the target. This is why so many folks think the two toy aisles at Wal-mart are an adequate replacement for Toys R Us. Big vox-stores can pull this off with drastically lower prices, and the a very narrow product line.

Geoffrey's Toy Box

A revival will have to start small, drop TRU's formerly high pricing, and become the toy experts, not just retailers. Wal-Mart can sell toys, but their expertise falls flat. They only command price. The big box-stores selling toys have no character or purpose beyond selling product. Geoffrey's Toy Box has to be similarly low-priced while not focusing entirely on selling. These locations have to be a destinations. I can order toys from the comfort of my home. To get me into a brick & mortar store you have to offer what Amazon can not. A dynamic experience demonstrating expertise and knowledge.

The old Toys R Us can not come back. It was a behemoth. Geoffrey's needs to act like a nimble start-up not a continuation of TRU. They need to reinvent as a small focused company that can bring TRU fans back and retain them by being a surprisingly different experience that curates an offering and atmosphere the big box-stores can never pull off.

I don't need TRU to come back. I need toy stores to be a viable business. I don't want to wade through tube socks, tennis balls, and household goods. I want access to interesting toys with an experience that showcases them. Toy stores are important and Geoffrey's Toy Box must showcase that in a dynamic destination-oriented experience. I have faith in Geoffrey!

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