For the past few years, Mattel's American Girl subsidiary has been running into problems. Sales have been dropping by the double-digits as habits change (damn the devices!) and other companies' 18" dolls have started to catch up to them in terms of quality but at a lower price. Add in another unfortunate set of moves that were tied to the failing Toys "R" Us (TRU), and those problems have snowballed quickly. The launch of the lower-priced, 15" Wellie Wishers line never took off in the way that everyone hoped, and those dolls and their accessories were shipped heavily to TRU. Pair that with fact that about a year and a half ago (October 2016), American Girl opened store-within-a-store pop-up concepts in 97 Toys "R" Us locations, and that's an issue. Mattel is owed over $135M in the Toys "R" Us bankruptcy that they'll likely never see and the fallout has begun. They recently announced the closing of their New York City office (100 jobs lost), and today comes news that hits close to home - they're shutting down American Girl operations in Wilmot, Wisconsin, and The Mattel Toy Store is going along with it.
As it was once written: "For centuries, the Legend of Santa Claus has evolved. From Saint Nicholas to Kris Kringle, Father Christmas to simply, Santa - this mysterious giver has taken many forms, appearing throughout the world under countless names to delight and inspire families by doing for others each and every holiday season. For many, the spirit of “Claus” is held within, a shining light that burns with the desire to do for others, particularly for those less fortunate."
When I became "The Rock Father" upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, I had no idea where the road of parenthood would lead. Eventually it became clear that my path is branching, and just as becoming a parent led to the birth of this digital magazine - this site led to the opportunity to do more. My job has allowed me to do some good our local community, and last year the opportunity arose to partner with General Motors and OnStar to hit the road to do some "Black Friday Shopping for Good" - the end result of which provided gifts for 37 children across 15 families right here in our township. Regardless of sponsorship, I made a decision that we'd do it again this year - and bigger, if possible. The Rock Daughters and I began amassing gifts in our garage, and as the holiday season began, we started ramping up a bit. Then, I'm happy to say that we partnered with Chevrolet and OnStar once more, and for 2015 #ChevyShopsForGood!
For centuries, the Legend of Santa Claus has evolved. From Saint Nicholas to Kris Kringle, Father Christmas to simply, Santa - this mysterious giver has taken many forms, appearing throughout the world under countless names to delight and inspire families by doing for others each and every holiday season.
Earlier this year, I highlighted The Mattel Toy Store of Wilmot, Wisconsin in a "Rock Father Adventure" blog here on the site. It's been a few months since we've made the trip, but on Friday we went back - lured in by a phone call received here at HQ about a shipment of KNIGHT RIDER Hot Wheels they'd received. While I'm still on the hunt for their basic $1 Knight Industries 2000, what the folks at The Mattel Toy Store received was something a little more special: The Special Edition K.I.T.T. that was previously offered as a San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive this past July.
This past Friday, the little one and I took a little road trip to Wilmot, Wisconsin. About 30 minutes from Rock Father HQ in Illinois, Wilmot is home to more than a 'Mountain,' but also a warehouse for AMERICAN GIRL, and THE MATTEL TOY STORE. I'd found the latter by accident last year while heading up to Twin Lakes for a rock show. After coming back home, I hit Google to find out just what exactly I'd seen out there on that dark, Fall night. While turning a corner, I spotted a plain white sign that read 'The Mattel Toy Store.' Sure enough, the toy maker operates their own chain of stand-alone stores in special locations around the country. A few months ago, we made the trip for the first time. On Friday, we went back.