Monday, June 8, 2015

Retro Toys R Us Waco Tx

Here is possibly the last vintage 1980's style Toys R Us in Texas and Louisiana. This outside store signage was probably modified when the Kids R Us was added. All the rest of the retro elements inside and outside of the store remain including the paint scheme, video game pickup counter, and signage. 
Night shots.
Now for the inside of the store. We will start with the retro video game aisle. This store still has tags that you bring to the cashier to ring up games. Once you pay for the game you have to go to the pickup window to get the game.
The sign for the electronics pickup area.
Here is the pickup area for the games. This is the first store I have been to in years that still has this system of picking up video games and electronics. 
The Kids R Us addition looks slightly out of place in this retro store.
Looking at the crisscross lighting of this aisle. This must have been one of the main center aisles before the Kids R Us was added.
Some vintage store signage and old cartoon characters in the video section. 
The front of the store still has the old checkout signage that has been removed from most modern Toys R Us stores.
According to this overhead sign, I can get gift certificates at the customer service area.
Another view of the front of the store.
And finally a retro exit sign to finish the trip back in time.


  1. This is a tremendously retro looking Toys R Us. Thanks for the photos. It must be interesting for today’s parents to bring their kids to this store today when the parents used to get toys from the store back in the 1980s or 1990s. The store probably does not look much different than it did back then.

    We had a Toys R Us near Willowbrook Mall that was probably from the same era as this store, but that store was renovated extensively in the early-to-mid 1990s when the Kids R Us was built next to it. You documented the closing of that store. That Toys R Us closed and relocated to the shopping center next to the mall itself a couple of years ago. The old Toys R Us became a Big Lots and a Chinese restaurant (the Kids R Us closed sometime before I think and became a Discount Tire).

    It’s hard for me to know what modern Toys R Us stores look like since I’ve only shopped there a couple of times in the last ~20 years, but there are clearly some retro features inside this store. I do remember getting the cards to take to the register to get video games at Toys R Us in the Sega Master System era since we did buy a few games from there. Toys R Us did have one of the better selections of obscure video games back in the day. I remember seeing the Atari Jaguar there and other oddballs like that.

    One odd old memory I have of Toys R Us is that I remember going there specifically to buy Certron VHS cassettes from there back in the very early 1990s since they were so cheap. Certron audio cassettes were always super low end and rather bad, but for some reason I decided to try one of their VHS tapes. I’m not saying that the Certron VHS tapes were great, but they seemed to work better than their audio cassettes. I’m not sure if I’ve tested the recordings I made on those tapes recently, but AFAIK, those tapes are still holding up fine. I may have to pull one of those tapes out this weekend to try them out.

    It’s odd how a brand can make such bad products in one category, but then make decent products in another similar category. I guess I had the same feelings about Memorex. Their audio/video cassettes were quite bad for many years (though their later Korean outsourced audio tapes were okay and their high bias cassettes were mostly reliable at least) and their CD-Rs were often mediocre, but I found their floppy diskettes from the early 1980s all the way through the late 1990s to be very reliable. I had more problems with 3M and especially Sony disks even though their cassettes were better. Go figure.

    1. I was very surprised to see this store. There are very few still out there like this one. The company probably was planning on replacing this location with a new store, but it never happened. The outside of the store has been recently painted and they stuck with the original colors. A few of the last remaining stores like this one have different colors and do not look original anymore. It is a shame that retro stores like this one cannot be found in Houston anymore.

      Toys R Us carried a huge selection of nearly every game system. I want to say Children's Palace had the rights to sell Nintendo games only at first, but Toys R Us finally was able to see them.

      There are several companies that make good products for some items and bad ones for others. I also had problems with Sony diskettes freezing or losing data. Samsung has been the one company I have not had a single bad product from .

    2. These retro Toys R Us locations are probably very rare, but I have seen a few pictures of them online. Here is a recent picture of one in St. Clairsville, OH. This store is near the Ohio Valley Mall that we have discussed quite some time ago. That mall has a Kmart (though I’m not sure if it is still open) in a former Montgomery Ward anchor spot. Here are some pictures of a retro Toys R Us in Horseheads, NY. That store may have been renovated since those pictures were taken in 2013 though.

      I’m not really sure why Toys R Us kept these stores retro. Perhaps Toys R Us was considering replacing them, but then never did as you say. Maybe they were last on the list to get renovated, but then Toys R Us ran out of money to renovate them before those stores came up. Who knows. Perhaps Toys R Us figures that these stores don’t need renovations given the competition or whatever. It’s really hard to say. It’s interesting that the Waco store was painted recently using the retro colors. That’s good to hear. Perhaps the retro store is here to stay for a long time to come.

      I do remember Children’s Palace. There was one in The Commons across the street from Willowbrook Mall. It is now a Ross Dress for Less. There was also one I remember at The Commons across I-45 from Greenspoint Mall. I don’t really remember their video game selection as well as I remember what Toys R Us had. Perhaps Toys R Us didn’t have Nintendo games for a while, but I really don’t remember that since I didn’t have a Nintendo.

      It’s interesting to hear that I wasn’t the only one who had problems with Sony diskettes. The only Sony disks I had came from the 1993 grand opening sale of the I-45 and FM 1960 W CompUSA. They had a sale where people buying a color HP Deskjet printer would receive 50 free Sony disks in the store. That was worth at least $50 at the time so that was a great deal, but I had some trouble with the disks getting bad sectors. Sony’s reliability was a bit hit or miss in general at that time, but I didn’t really have trouble with their other magnetic storage media at the time so it was surprising to see the problems with their disks.

      Most of my Samsung products have been reliable, but I have had some issues too. I’ve had two Samsung cell phones (a 2002 flip phone that was high end for the time and a late 2013 smartphone that I’m still using) and both were/have been very reliable. Although my 2008 Samsung 40” LCD TV model is known to have problems with bad capacitors, I’ve not had any problems with it yet. I did have a 13” Samsung color TV from the 1980s that only lasted about 7 years before the CRT blew, but Samsung products (and Korean products in general) improved in quality significantly in the 1990s and 2000s. They were mostly known as a cheaper option rather than a quality option in the 1980s, but things have changed over time. I did have a 1993 RCA VHS VCR made by Samsung that was brought new from Montgomery Ward that had capacitors that went bad on the power supply board after about five years. That issue was a known problem with Samsung VCRs from that era. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that it was a common problem when I brought it, but oh well. I will say that the VCR worked well when it did work. I replaced that VCR with a Daewoo-built RCA VCR purchased from Conn’s in either 1997 or 1998. That VCR still works.

    3. It looks like both of those stores painted the multicolor panels on the front of the store white. I noticed the second store still had retro lettering inside of the store.

      There was also a Children's Palace in Humble that was split into a Mobile One and a Fallas Parades store. I thought Children's Palace was the better store, but Toys R Us finished them off.

      I think my Sony disks came from Walmart but I am not sure. I threw them away after having problems with the first few disks I tried using.

      I have bought mostly Samsung and Sony products over the years. The few times I tried a different product that the brands above including cell phones, it did not work out well. Nearly every cell phone I had before switching to Samsung phones had to be sent for repairs at one time or another.

  2. the outside of the store looks like the abandon location near Westoaks Mall.

  3. What is the rationale for keeping the video game pickup system? Unusually high amount of theft in the area?

    1. That is a good question. Maybe the company does not want to renovate an more stores at this point. Since they are a privately held company, they are able to make different decisions like keep some features in stores that have been eliminated from most stores. Maybe this makes sense for the Waco store, or management fought to keep this store from changing too much.

  4. Does this Toys R Us use part of Geoffrey's Box Office in the DVD aisle?

    1. It looks like the aisle signage is from that era. The DVD's and Bluray discs are just on that one aisle, but they don't have the big sign over the area.

    2. You mean they don't have the big sign over the area anymore?

    3. Yeah, I did not see the large sign over the aisle when I visited this store. They only have the one aisle of movies in the store.

    4. Well, the characters in the film strips are part of Geoffrey's Box Office.

  5. Are there any other old Toys R Us store that have the characters in the film strips which are part of Geoffrey's Box Office?

    1. I am not sure maybe the blog readers can help out with your question. This store has changed since my last visit and they removed the rest of the old signage in the video department. They also removed the Kids R Us sign and replaced the entrance sign on the exterior of the store.