Local toy stores hoping to benefit from closure of Toys 'R' Us

With Toys "R" Us out of business, mom-and-pop toy stores are making a play for those shoppers this holiday season.

"I think it is unrealistic to think we are going to get all of their business but a small percentage, one or two percent of their business, is a big deal to us," said Ann Kienzle, who owns Play Lincoln Park and Play Logan Square.

Toys "R" Us closed all of its 740 stores this summer. In its absence, major retailers like Walmart, Target and Kohl's have stepped up.

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"I think you are seeing a lot of companies pick up toys that maybe didn't before. It's giving us a chance to reach out to a new customer," Kienzle said.

Local toy store owners said they are trying to reach new customers too by offering holiday shoppers a different kind of experience, something more personal -- something big box retailers and Amazon can't compete with.

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"We realized we were spending too money on Amazon because it was too easy so we decided to only shop local this year," said shopper Susan Raphael.

"I do think people are out there looking for a hands-on experience. They really do want to come in and touch and feel and they know that we are the toy experts in the industry," said Brandy Masoncup, co-owner of Geppetto's Toy Box in Oak Park.

She said it's too early to see the full effects of the closure of Toys "R" Us.

"I think it is a great opportunity for us to educate people that we are here and we are having people newly discover us all the time which is super fun and exciting for us," Masoncup said.
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