Upon the various delays of my yearning to come back to Clay, I've searched for Toys "R" Us on Flickr ever since hoping to find some intriguing photos of Clay. What really comes up (in droves)? A whole pack upon thousands of shots relating to a neon-wild ferris wheel with the huge backwards "R" plastered in the middle. Its from the Times Square location, which is one of the many mesmerizing attractions apart of the company's established "flagship" store in the heart of New York City. Yeah I saw it. It's a nice attraction, sure and is ever crowded as the City itself usually is. So crowded, in fact, that I decided to skip it upon my December visit because of the outrageous mob just waiting to get inside the store.
What better way to show the exuberance of your store; a company image all in one than the one in Times Square? I don't know, it really doesn't seem to be a big deal. I mean, this really didn't encompass the Toys "R" Us I experienced on Saturday afternoons in my homely suburb when I was a kid.
Thanks to much research and pictures by Daniel Fife and his own travels, a few others, including friends of ours at the Ames Fan Club forums like HudsonValleyJack have been keeping tabs on many Toys "R" Us stores in the Northeast region of the country and the state of many stores in New York. With their help, I'm able to provide you with these images.
- Financial troubles or stores that don't pull in enough revenue usually damn themselves excusing modernizations leading for stores to look old or distressed. The Clay store is located approximately 57 miles from its next store in New Hartford. When the company announced the 87 store closures and conversions of 2006, Clay managed to survive while one to the immediate south in DeWitt, located far-off from Shoppingtown Mall didn't make the cut. It appears the company favors the strategy of keeping stores close to regional malls vital as they know it keeps sales steady unless there's a crowding of them. It is very possible that for years the company has noticed declining sales within the Clay store and have yielded renovation efforts for fear they will decide to shutter it in coming year(s).
- Familiarity helps with customers. The former DeWitt store was built in 1992 and obviously didn't perform as well as Clay, which was built in 1988. The areas of both locations, however, are identical with just a small factor: the Clay store being located directly off Interstate (and State Route) 481 and DeWitt well off the highway. Despite the DeWitt store being newer in design, Clay may have been more well-kept as well as excelling in sales.
- Area, like familiarity, is certainly a player. Located next to a regional shopping mall, Great Northern Mall (also built in 1988) and along a strong, growing retail strip helps the store survive despite its somewhat isolated position of being apart of the mall's property. To access the Clay store from Route 31, you'll have to enter the mall grounds. Also, if an area is meshed with crime, it could cause a ripple effect with sales, traffic, and overall cosmetic image of the store not wanting to see change. Clay's older look continues to baffle within most of Route 31 retail looking fresh and continually expanding with new business. Crime, as it is, is not a problem in Clay. As a matter of fact, the town itself is about as country bumpkin as Farmington, Connecticut.
- Year Built could have explained why Clay is steeped in its 1988 colors, but it's hard to buy that now. As we found before, 1989 was the last year the company rolled out the classic brown/striped model (still evident on the Bangor, Maine store albeit roof repainted white). At this point, Clay wasn't in need of renovations while times may be coming close now for the store's fate. Johnson City remodeled its store shortly after the millennial bend, when "Concept 2000" was reaching out to some falling behind stores when just recently the chain has remodeled the store again no more than three years later following the post-Concept 2000 renovation for a Babies "R" Us annex, whilst leaving a vacant Kids "R" Us store aside it.
We'd like your input and possibly stories and pictures of your own to share with us. Maybe you can explain how the company or retail industry works in general when it comes to renovating stores. If you've got anything, shoot it over to me at XISMZERO@yahoo.com or leave a comment. We greatly appreciate anything of the sort!
Also, check out our complete photo set on my Yahoo! Photos. I also apoligize in advance; you'll have to chug through most of the rather snoozer Great Northern Mall pictures to see them.