It’s a day most Queens “Toys R Us kids” never thought they’d grow up to see.
Toys R Us is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Monday, according to numerous media outlets, and it would spell the end of the toy store chain beloved by generations of children.
After initially filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last September, in January of this year, Toys R Us announced it was closing 180 stores nationwide, including two in Queens: the Middle Village store on Metropolitan Avenue and the College Point store on 20th Avenue. Going-out-of-business sales began at both locations last month.
Since filing for bankruptcy, Toys R Us executives have scrambled to work with its creditors on a plan to reorganize and save the franchise. While toy sales remain brisk, some business experts speculated that the company had acquired too much debt in recent years and couldn’t properly manage it.
Reports surfaced in recent days that no debt deal was in sight — and the chain would be ultimately forced on March 12 to file Chapter 7, which would force total liquidation.
That would mean that all of the remaining Toys R Us stores would go out of business, including the last of its six Queens stores: the Glendale “Express” store at 80-16 Cooper Ave. (The Shops at Atlas Park); the Rego Park store at 61-35 Junction Blvd. (Rego Center mall); the Long Island City store at 35-40 48th St.; the SkyView Flushing shop at 40-24 College Point Blvd. (The Shops at SkyView Center); the Flushing store at 30-02 Whitestone Expwy.; and the Little Neck store at 242-02 61st Ave. (Douglaston Shopping Center).
As noted, these Toys R Us shops are all in major shopping centers across the borough, and their closure would create large vacancies at each complex. Last year, the Douglaston Shopping Center lost its Macy’s department store; plans are in place to replace with Lowe’s Home Improvement. The last Queens Sears location, at the Rego Center mall, went out of business last year; there’s no word yet on what will replace it.
With rumors about its impending demise flying last week, on March 9, the company tweeted words of encouragement and support to its customers: “We’ve seen an amazing outpouring of love and support in recent days and we truly appreciate it. Our stores are open for business, ready to bring joy to children wherever we can, and to help new and expecting parents navigate raising a family.”
It remains to be seen, however, how much longer the retail giant will be open.