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It was in September of 2017 when the rumblings of a major restructuring really took hold for Toys "R" Us. I offered-up some commentary on one of their owners, Bain Captial, and how I feared that they were positioning Toys "R" Us for a repeat of the fleecing and destruction that they subjected KB Toys to in the early 2000s. A week later, the rumbles became reality as Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While it was "business-as-usual" for the most part at the actual stores, now that the holiday season is behind us, the dark reality that everyone knew was coming has arrived: store closures. In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Dave Brandon, Chairman & CEO of Toys "R" Us announced that they're pairing down the store list, but he reaffirmed the commitment to making Toys "R" Us a destination for generations to come. One thing not included in the message was the actual store closing list, but that was buried in a court filing from yesterday afternoon. Around 180 stores will be shuttered between February-April, and sadly the Toys "R" Us that I shopped at as a kid is one of the ones about to go, and as an adult I've shopped at four of the eight Illinois locations about to go dark. Of note is that many of the store closings are actually stand-alone Babies "R" Us locations, and it's expected that nearby Toys "R" Us stores will be remodeled to be TRU/BRU combo stores. Here's the local list...

When I think of the toys of my childhood, there's a few that have pretty legendary status. There was a time when some of the best playsets were made of little more than cardboard, and because of that, not many of them survived. One such playset was one of my favorites - the G.I. Joe Cobra Missle Command Headquarters. Originally offered as a Sears exclusive back in 1982, this was one of the first G.I. Joe playsets that I had, and I played with it until it fell apart. While I still have the figures that came with it, the set is a memory (I might have some Super 8mm film of it), but now it's all coming back. Next month, Hasbro will issue a reproduction of that playset as an SDCC exclusive, complete with modern figures. Check this out...

For the past two months, I've been following ABC's THE TOY BOX, an eight-episode competition series in which independent toy inventors battle it out for a chance to have their creations produced by Mattel, with the winning toy to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Starting with a preview post in which I took an early look at the series alongside mentor and Pixar Consumer Products Creative Director Jen Tan (read it here), each week I've been sharing previews of what's to come on Friday night. As someone who writes about and reviews toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff, and that's why THE TOY BOX has held such a personal appeal. In fact, over the course of the series, a few products pitched to me in early development (as far back as January of 2014) have popped up on the show. Now comes the final Friday - a double-dose of THE TOY BOX, starting with the seventh episode and ending with the final round. On Saturday morning, Toys "R" Us will become the destination to pick up the winning toy. Here's a preview...

Published in Movies, TV and More

As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. With that, I've been digging ABC's THE TOY BOX, in which independent toy creators find themselves vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out a preview of the week five toys below...

Published in Movies, TV and More

As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. With that, I've been digging ABC's THE TOY BOX, in which independent toy creators find themselves vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out a preview of the week five toys below...

Published in Movies, TV and More

As someone who writes about toys often (both here at The Rock Father™ Magazine and also over at The Toy Insider), I see a lot of new stuff. With that, I've been digging ABC's THE TOY BOX, in which independent toy creators find themselves vying for the attention of the judges in hopes of being crowned champion. At the end of the 8-week series, the winning toy will be produced by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. Check out a preview of the week four toys below...

Published in Movies, TV and More
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