QUEENSBURY — Toys R Us is preparing to close its Queensbury store, according to bankruptcy filings.
The store is among 182 stores listed for possible closure. However, the company is hoping to negotiate some better leases, which would allow some stores to stay open.
Company officials did not comment on whether they were pursuing a better lease for the Upper Glen Street store.
Customers flocked to the store when they heard the news.
“That’s why we’re here,” said Tanya Speziale of South Glens Falls.
She came with her young son to check out activity rugs. However, no special closing deals were being offered yet.
Speziale was philosophical about the closure plans.
“I knew it was coming because of online shopping,” she said.
Another customer who came to the store after hearing about the closure said she now felt bad about shopping online.
“I am guilty of shopping online,” said Peggy Brown of Saratoga. “But I have to say, it’s been a lot of fun being here, seeing things I wouldn’t have looked for.”
However, she hit on the problem that has driven many customers online: The store did not have what she wanted; in this case, doll clothes for a 9-inch doll. (Those clothes are available on Amazon.)
Still, she didn’t mind the trip.
“Toys R Us, when my kids were little, was such a fun excursion,” she said. “It’s fun even as a grandmother to come in here.”
Others were appalled to hear that the store will likely close.
“This is the only toy store. It’s either here or Walmart,” said Mike Flewelling of Glens Falls.
He has four stepchildren as well as an infant son. He juggled the son’s baby carrier as he looked at toys for the older children, saying he typically comes to the store once a month to buy something. It’s a big hit with the children.
“My stepdaughter’s going to be extremely upset,” he said. “Now we’ll have to drive all the way down to Clifton Park.”
Company officials tried to portray the closing as a way to make shopping better for their customers.
“We want to make it easier for you to shop with us, whether online or in our stores,” said CEO Dave Brandon in a letter to customers posted on the company website. “While our store roster may be getting smaller, what is not changing is our desire and commitment to serving you. For the past 70 years, we have worked hard to earn your business and look forward to being champions of play and a best friend to parents everywhere for decades to come.”
He argued that the changes would also lower prices by allowing the company to emerge from bankruptcy as a “more viable and competitive company.”
Store closings will begin in early February, but most will be in mid-April. The stores will offer deep discounts and deals before the closures.
Locally, there are about 25 employees, both full-time and part-time. Some will be offered positions at the Clifton Park store and other locations. The rest will be given a severance package, the company said.
The Queensbury store was chosen based on store performance, the local market and “overall financials,” including the cost of the lease, the company said.
The store opened in November 1996 in a building that had housed a Grand Union supermarket, which had closed in 1995.