Toys “R” Us marked its triumphant return to the US on Wednesday by opening its first new store at a location in Paramus, New Jersey.
Kids and parents can visit the revamped toy shopping experience at the Westfield Garden State Plaza, where they’ll find an in-store tree house (with a doorbell, of course), a reading space, and a cinema, according to CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey.
Toys “R” Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony opening the store to the public Wednesday morning.
The new brick-and-mortar store unveiling comes two years after Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy and shuttered over 700 of its stores.
Since then, the brand’s new parent company, Tru Kids, has been hard at work revamping the toy seller’s look and feel. Instead of packed shelves of toys, brands will be able “design custom experiences and branded shops to help them create memorable experiences for parents and children,” Tru Kids said.
The new experience-based initiative means the store has less toys to buy on the spot than in previous years. Instead, in-store technology allows parents to buy from a large stock of toys online.
“This store has about 1,500 items, but through the technology in the store, you can buy over 15,000 items today,” said Richard Barry, president and CEO of Tru Kids to News 12.
Reimagining the toy-buying experience
The company announced in July that it would return to select malls in major cities during the holiday season, beginning with two stores in New Jersey and Texas.
The new stores will be smaller, but more engaging, the company says, selling fewer toys than their predecessors but providing more interactive experiences.
Created by b8ta, a company that designs interactive and technology-focused retail locations, the store aims to provide kids with hands-on play and opportunities to try the toys for themselves.
“We know that customers love shopping as a means of entertainment. That’s something built into the DNA of human beings,” Richard Barry previously told CNN Business. “We also know kids and families are looking for things to do on the weekends or when school’s out. We know parents and families really value play and the value of toys overall. As we thought about the strategy, we wanted to put all those things together.”
Additional reporting by CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn and Jordan Valinsky