Just over three years after iconic toy store FAO Schwarz shuttered its doors on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, it is finally making its return.
The brand’s new owner ThreeSixty—it had previously been owned by Toys ‘R’ Us, among others—is bringing the store back to life, giant clock tower, piano keyboard, and all. The newest iteration of the store opened Friday at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, mere blocks from its original location.
The company also plans to open a number of pop-up FAO Schwarz stores in time for the holidays in England, Spain, and Australia, as well as several permanent retail locations in Beijing and in other locations across the U.S. and Canada.
While the current owner intends to bring back some of these most beloved components of the old store, it will also draw on new elements as well, with the aim of making the space more “experiential.”
ThreeSixty CEO David Conn told CNBC that it hopes this emphasis on the experiential will “deliver theater and can drive customers,” adding that the company thinks it “transcends even just toys. We joke around…we were experiential before it was cool to be experiential.”
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether such an emphasis will be enough to lure customers into the store to do their toy shopping. The industry has struggled in recent years, as evidenced by the closure of iconic toy brand Toys ‘R’ Us.
The toy store, which was founded in 862 by a German immigrant quickly became a tourist attraction after opening its Fifth Avenue location in 1986. The timing of its reopening is significant, as this will be the first holiday season following Toys ‘R’ Us’ closure.