FAO Schwarz flagship opens its doors

The iconic toy store welcomes celebrity guests and queueing shoppers to new “destination” store at Rockerfeller Plaza in New York City

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 20.11.2018 | Toys

FAO Schwarz flagship opens its doors thumbnail

FAO Schwarz has returned.

The iconic toy store opened the doors to its brand-new flagship on 16 November at Rockerfeller Plaza in New York City.

Christmas shoppers queued around the block to be among the first to tinkle the ivories on the toy store’s iconic walk-on piano, a returning fixture from the old NYC store made famous in the Tom Hanks movie Big. Among the crowds were the familiar faces of Whoopi Goldberg, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, just some of the celeb toy-lovers who made an appearance for the ribbon cutting.

Credit: Kevin Mazur

The FAO Schwarz brand was formerly owned by Toys R Us, which closed the previous New York store in July 2015 due to the rising cost of Manhattan rent. It later sold the FAO Schwarz brand to ThreeSixty Brands in 2016.

The newly opened location spans three stories and more than 20,000 sq.ft of retail space packed not just with a mix of FAO-branded toys and playthings from top suppliers, but a renewed focus on experiences to draw in the crowds

David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, explains: “FAO Schwarz was built on in-store experiences, which has made it a global destination over the years.”

Credit: Cindy Ord

The new owners hope to recapture that status as a destination through in-store theatre, costume character appearances, magic demonstrations and more, and even called on supermodel Gigi Hadid to co-design the apple-red coats of the newly imagined FAO Schwarz soldiers.

“We are bringing back the wonderment of toys and a deep nostalgia for the larger than life experience that FAO Schwarz has offered to parents and children alike for over 150 years," David adds.

Credit: Richard Cadan

Brands on board to transform the store into a true emporium include Hasbro, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Marvin’s Magic, Discovery Mindblown, Mattel, Spin Master, Ravensburger and an array of other leading suppliers and brands.

Shoppers are invited to work alongside trained mechanics at FAO Raceway, for example, where they can build remote-control cars by picking out their individual body style, colour, wheels and designs. Or if they have a sweet tooth, visitors can head over to the FAO Schweetz department, a candy lovers dream courtesy of specialist retailer It’Sugar.

A tribute to David Cardwell thumbnail

A tribute to David Cardwell

LTW.MEDIA’s Malcolm Naish celebrated the life and legacy of the late industry legend at an event last night

Kid-E-Cats debuts on Gulli thumbnail

Kid-E-Cats debuts on Gulli

APC Kids’ hit animated series brings series one and two to the French free-to-air broadcaster

Harry Potter flagship headed to NYC thumbnail

Harry Potter flagship headed to NYC

Warner Bros. to open world’s first flagship store for the wizarding property in the heart of the city, promising magical ...

Press Releases

Energizer spotlights Masha the Bear thumbnail

Energizer spotlights Masha the Bear

Animaccord and Energizer partner on Masha and the Bear licensed torches, heading to retail across EMEA in 2020

Elmo’s World comes to UK’s Tiny Pop in 2020 thumbnail

Elmo’s World comes to UK’s Tiny Pop in 2020

Kids’ TV channel expands its Sesame Street content with new series of short-form, interactive episodes

Milkshake picks up Pirata & Capitan S2 thumbnail

Milkshake picks up Pirata & Capitan S2

UK kids’ block acquires second series of the Millimages pre-school animation after successful first run

Moorcroft is Chelsea’s Choice thumbnail

Moorcroft is Chelsea’s Choice

Moorcroft and RHS present the limited-edition vase Chelsea’s Choice, celebrating Chelsea Flower Show 18 Plant of the Year