EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick used to be the home of Meyer's toy store, an almost idyllic wonderland of all sorts of Barbies, parts for swimming pools, and clanging model trains until it closed in 2002. Kay-Bee toy store was a popular stop at the Brunswick Square Mall until 2009, with a salesperson often displaying the newest gadget outside its door, causing eager kids to drag their moms along to have a look. After that, it was all about Toys-R-Us, the national chain and its original location in Loehmann's Plaza, drawing crowds that filled the now-lonely parking lot. The home of Geoffrey the Giraffe then moved to a new location farther down Route 18 South to become the anchor store for a new mall, bringing with it sister store Babies-R-Us. Now, 2018 may see the closure of the last toy store in East Brunswick due to the financial restructuring declared by the New Jersey-based company in the fall of 2017.
So what's the story with Toys-R-Us?
In an online letter, the company CEO David Brandon assures loyal Friends of Geoffrey of two things: "We are open for business and ready to serve you" and "We are honoring customer programs."
A visit to the East Brunswick location Tuesday proved that to be true. There were long lines of customers with full carts waiting to take advantage of the many sales and promotions currently going on. Aisles were lined with Easter decorations, eggs, baskets and holiday-themed toys. It didn't look like anyone was going anywhere right now. When asked about a possible closing, a customer service agent replied that she did not know when or even if the store would shut its doors.
Brandon adds in the letter that store closings began in early February, with most locations closing by mid-April 2018. East Brunswick's store was not on the first list of closures that was published on February 9, though the store in North Brunswick was. He encourages customers to take advantage of available deep discounts and deals right now. That leaves about a month or less for East Brunswick residents to visit a local favorite.
Meanwhile, the stores are still running the "Greater Trade-In" promotion that concludes Sunday, March 18. Customers can trade in some items and get deep deep discounts on new ones.
Ultimately, all locations of Toys-R-Us will close. The mega toy store that gobbled up other local vendors and smaller chains will have met the same fate.