Today the founder of Toys “R” Us, Charles Lazarus died at the age of 94. This news was posted on LinkedIn after Jim Silver, the editor in chief of TTPM (toy review website) was informed by former Toys “R” Us Chief Executive Michael Goldstein about Lazarus’ death.
Lazarus’ death comes soon after news of Toys “R” Us closing stores across the country hit last Thursday. They made the announcement via their bankruptcy filing declaring the company must liquidate. People were devastated of course and social media couldn’t handle it. The outpour of hashtags started trending including #endofanera; that tag was dedicated to all those of us who can relate to the shameless trips to the store where we wouldn’t leave without a toy, no matter what.
Toy “R” Us had to file for bankruptcy due to the lack of sales. Their direct competition with online retailers, like Amazon and Ebay, and the overwhelming debt that came from the 2006 buyout, forced the company to close.
In 1948 Lazarus started a smaller company in Washington, D.C. at the age of 25 called Children’s Bargain Town, where he sold baby furniture. A few years later in 1957 he opened the iconic toy store, Toy “R” Us in Maryland. The company went public in 1978 and everyone was instantly hooked.
Fun Fact:The reversed "R" in Toys "R" Us was designed to mimic a child's handwriting!
In 1994 Lazarus left his chairman and CEO positions and eventually left the company a few years later.
Toys “R” Us released the following statement Thursday,
“There have been many sad moments for Toys”R” Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”