Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toys "R" Us (Finally) Opens In North Haven, Closes Hamden

Remember that story we did over a year ago about Toys "R" Us putting a store in North Haven? Remember when we breached the story early? So early, in fact, we had doubts it would ever come to fruition, which is why we almost retracted the story.


Toys "R" Us of North Haven opened as the thirteenth store in Connecticut, but only the ninth succeeding store (see the list below, folks) to date.

The bright, vivacious location along Universal Drive opened with somewhat dim fanfare on July 3, 2009 and is the newest Toys "R" Us in the state since 1997. Not since 1997 has the company opened a store from the ground up; the relocated Waterbury store which was, at that time, a "Concept 2000" store.

Unlike other states, North Haven is the only store in Connecticut sporting the new 2008 logo (as seen above, taken from the Bay Shore, NY store).

Ever since that disastrous CEO dropped out for the new guy, he decided to take the company's greatest (highly profitable) asset, Babies "R" Us, and mesh the stores together into one superstore -- and its taken place in many markets though not entirely in our little, albeit fertile Toys "R" Us market of Connecticut.

Seeing the greater of opportunities, the company simultaneously shuttered its 13-year Dixwell Ave. Hamden location in place of the North Haven store, which is planted in the posh, new North Haven Commons, right off I-91, which also opened ripe in Spring 2009. The now dark Hamden location, apart of the well-established and "historic" Hamden Mart recently underwent its own umpteenth remodel to escape the once ghastly balloony red-tarp motif they had going on there for decades, succeeding a long-standing Stop & Shop which once flanked the center's far right end many moons ago.

Here's a bevy of shots from the now closed Hamden store, taken recently in August 2009.

Just last Summer, the company closed up another well-established, yet oddly placed Westport location, once along Boston Post Road (US-1) which has since become a Homegoods. While some have closed, many more across the country have remodeled into the ambitious new age of Toys "R" Us/Babies "R" Us combo stores.

And now, our known list of stores in Connecticut, now with more pictures!
History of Toys "R" Us in Connecticut

WATERBURY | OPENED : 1979(?), CLOSED : 1998
WATERBURY / Brass Mill Commons | OPENED : 1997

*All stores before DANBURY (1988) contained the brown roof, rainbow-striped palette, and have all been remodeled since.
A nice looking store, no doubt, but I can't shake my obsession for the past -- especially when it comes to what used to be the greatest toy store.

Oh, if anyone has any fond memories of their Toys "R" Us experience(s), leave a comment. Leave as many as you want if you have information (especially opening year) on the troubled, "sinking" former East Haven location and of course any photographs of the original Waterbury store.

PHOTO CREDIT: East Haven, CT (Unknown), Milford, CT (Milford Town Assessor Database)


Makaila said...

Excellent post.!! Toys R Us has always been my favorite store. I love to visit our local store with my kids to buy toys, games and other stuff.

Mark J said...

That new Toys R Us is one sharp looking store!!


It's ironic that they closed the Hamden store since it was one of the nicest ones due to the fact that it was smaller than most.It wa salways neater than the other TRU's and in the area and the shelves were always full(an oddity in these times),but both of these things were due to it's small size.And what do they do go and open up a larger(harder to keep neat and keep the shelves fully stocked)store.I just don't get the coroprate mentality.I don't know much about hte east haven store, but I heard a wierd rumor how it was haunted by the ghost of a little girl who was killed when some shelves fell on her.And the weird thing was that supposidly when the store closed down the shelves were moved to the Milford store and she haunts that one now.

mjc1701 said...

I kind of miss the original store set up. The current design is much more open and inviting, but I enjoyed grabbing a ticket for a new NES (or Atari 2600, hehe) game and bringing it to the window for pickup :)

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Steve Barone said...

When I was a lad, there was no bigger thrill than getting to hit the monolithic, mazelike Toys R Us in its original Waterbury location. Today that spot is a grubby Shop Rite that I will not patronize unless absolutely necessary. But a few years back when it was occupied by Price Chopper, I would get off work and make a nightly pilgramage there for a bite on the way home. Peering at the meat counter at four AM one particular wee-hour, I realized I was standing in the selfsame spot where ten years prior I had seen the first Virtual Boy, side by side with the Sega Saturn running Panzer Dragoon. I laughed out loud to myself and some frightened stockboys as I recalled thinking to myself, "This Virtual Boy I like but as for the Saturn, this 3-D gaming will never catch on".

Brian said...

Had no idea a new North haven store was opened..i saw that Hamden had closed, but i figured it was because the company was in trouble, and i heard last year that Walmart was trying to drive them out...go figure..Toys R Us used to be good, but my last time in there i was not pleased, and prices were so damn high i just left..give me back Child World..i loved going in there!

Eric said...

I used to think the toys r us in clifton park, ny was cool as a kid (mid-90s). It looked huge to me at the time, and had a very strange entrance way. You enter on the right via two sets of sliding doors, then walk half the width of the store to the customer service desk, then do a u-turn and go through another sliding door to a large area you are forced to walk through, I guess so they can promote things.

Looking at it now though, the place is a dump. It's essentially a small warehouse building, with lights constantly making a buzzing sound. The roofs have metal scaffolding on the inside which is very unattractive. As for video games (the only reason I go anymore... when they have good sales), It's a huge hassle to have to take a ticket to the counter, pay in exchange for a receipt, then go to a pickup counter and hope there's someone there to get it for you.

BG57 said...

Remember the glass cabinets in the first isle of entering the store that had the Atari consoles, RCA helicopters, and the early NES games and accessories? They had (in their prime) a model car section that triumphs any standing hobby store to this day.

BG57 said...

I used to sluggishly be dragged to the Salem Mall in Trotwood Ohio knowing that if I tagged along I had a good chance of getting the Moms to take me to the big Giraffe. That area was amazing in the early eighties, Children's Palace in the parking lot, Toys R Us a couple blocks away, and a Showbiz Pizza close as well. Toys R Us had the formula right back then, lure you in with glass cabinets of electronics you couldn't touch until you bought them. I had to smear my face on glass for 2 years of my youth before I ever got to play one (there wasn't a kiosk where you got to "try it out").

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