San Francisco kids of the 1980s and 1990s remember when Union Square was a dream destination for kids; thanks to Union Square F.A.O. Schwarz store complete with live human toy soldiers, a gigantic lava lamp full of Barbie shoes, and a giant set of piano keys you could jump on like Tom Hanks in Big. But after hard times in retail, that store closed in 2003.
The kid magic is coming back to Union Square. The one-time toy giant Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017, but has since restructured and is back in growth mode, and NBC Bay Area reports they’ll be opening a new Toys R Us inside the Union Square Macy’s. Toys R Us briefly had a smaller San Francisco store inside the Westfield Centre, and had dozens of large stores throughout the Bay Area.
The image above is a similar Toys R Us-inside-a Macy’s concept in New Jersey, but the San Francisco location will apparently be much larger and more ambitious. According to a Macy’s press release, “the in-store shops will range from 1,000 sq. feet and span up to 10,000 sq. feet in flagship locations in Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.”
That press release also notes that the new SF Toys R Us “will also feature a life-size ‘Geoffrey on a Bench’ photo opportunity for families.”
We don’t have an exact opening date, but we have a pretty specific range. The release says that “To celebrate the openings, all Macy’s stores will host nine days of in-store events, beginning October 15 through October 23, which will include family friendly activities and daily giveaways from brands like Barbie® [and] LEGO®.” So it’s looking like mid-October for the new SF Toys R Us.
In the retail racket, that time of year is considered the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But for regular folks, that is still Halloween season. And lovers of Bay Area folklore will of course make the seasonal connection to the supposedly haunted Toys R Us in Sunnyvale, which closed in 2018, but reopened in 2019 as — what else? — a Spirit Halloween store.