Thursday, October 11, 2018

Toys R Us Lake Charles La.

After a short break while I was out of town, the blog is back. Here is the Toys R Us in Lake Charles Louisiana. This Toys R Us had the vintage Geoffrey still up but sadly he had been removed from the street sign. This was a small TRU location, but the shelves were very tall in comparison to newer, larger stores. 

This visit was in the last month of the store being open.

Inside of the store. I will let the next few photos speak for themselves.

An example of how tall the shelves were in this store. 

Not much left in the video game aisles at this point.

This store had glass cases near the back of the store for video games. 

One of the signs still up advertising their online business.

Surprisingly Toys R Us still sold CD's and CD players up until the end.

Lots of TRU branded batteries.

An example of a checkout stand that was for cash only purchases.

This was the video game pickup counter. I am not sure what it was being used for besides showing off electronics at this point. 

About a week after the store closed, the lights were still on.
The store still had a bunch of fixtures in place like they just gave up taking things apart.

Looking into the store at night, you could see so much with the lights still on.

A nice perk of the job, I wonder if they still used this prior to closing.


  1. This Toys R Us looks more or less how the original Willowbrook Mall TRU looked before it moved to the new location in the blog post below. That store is now a Big Lots. Anyway, thanks for the pictures. The signs saying "Store closing: This location only" were certainly overly optimistic.

    Those last few photos of the nearly empty dark store is rather creepy. It reminds me a bit of my visit to a closing Kroger store a few months back that wasn't lit at all at night except for the emergency lights. At least you got some pictures of the Kmart-like HVAC registers.

    Did TRU only sell CDs with clean lyrics? I can't say I can remember TRU selling music, but it's not like I was a frequent shopper there in the last few decades. I am a bit surprised that they sold Polk Audio speakers (well, a TV soundbar at least). That's a premium audio brand. It's not something I'd expect at a toy store.

    Those TRU batteries might have been a good deal. Batteries are one of the first things I look for at store closing sales which have legitimate deals. Store brand batteries can be iffy, but I actually like Sears DieHard alkaline batteries for stuff like clocks and remotes since they seem to leak less than the major brand batteries I've tried in recent times. I even had some Energizers which were dead out of the carton even though they weren't expired or anything. Of course, it might be difficult for me to get those Sears DieHard batteries soon given all the news surrounding Sears, but that's a whole different story.

    TRU's rumored successor is interesting, but I wonder how successful they can be. They'll miss this important Christmas season and TRU's shoppers might get used to shopping elsewhere. Perhaps a new TRU would work best as a smaller format store, but it's hard to say.

    1. I thought the signs were strange as well, this store began the closing sale along with the rest of the chain.

      Yes the CD's were typical children's music with clean lyrics. A lot of the CD's were karaoke CD's.

      The batteries at TRU were decent. They were probably the equivalent of Rayovac batteries.

      A lot of retailers are adding extra toy space this season. I have already mentioned Sears, but Target and Walmart also added extra displays in addition to what they normally carry. Kids are more into electronic items these days so we will see how that works out.

  2. Have any of you heard the latest news (in the past couple days) about Sears Holdings? It sounds like their final demise is going to be announced next week (October 15 through 19). I dread the thought of so many more big retail spaces becoming empty. But I've been waiting for Sears Holdings to go out of business for close to ten years now. The Sears/Kmart merger sounded like good news at first, but I could tell once I made my first (and only) visit to a Sears Essentials store (if you aren't familiar with that very short-lived concept, it was a ridiculously lazy experiment where old, tired Kmart stores were given a new coat of paint, blue replacing red, and other very minor changes, similar to the useless "Big" Kmart concept launched in the 90's) that there was no way this company would survive in the long term. Also the fact that the Super Kmart stores had their grocery sections phased out after the Sears merger (and this was at the relatively few Super Kmart stores that didn't close altogether) was a sign of trouble.

    1. How quickly things change. After the most recent list of closings the company will be down to around 500 locations. Another 150 stores are part of the list of restricted stores which are stores that if they can't work out the lease agreement, the stores will close. The most recent list of 40 stores were all on that list. The list can be found online in their bankruptcy case files.

      Kmart and Sears made way too many mistakes prior to their merger that have the company in the position that they are in now. If Kmart had fully embraced groceries and Sears opened more of their Sears Grand concepts, we may be looking at a much different company today.

    2. I think Sears' biggest problem is that they did not open new stores in the newest suburbs here in the post-mall era. Sears Grand could have been a good 21st century concept for Sears, but perhaps they were too big and carried too many departments which people don't associate with Sears. Regular full-line stores of around 120k sq. ft. might have been the ticket, but Sears completely ignored the new suburbs after Lampert came into the picture. The remaining stores in successful malls were not updated enough to keep customers interested.

      The Great Indoors was a good idea, it just came in at a bad time. The stores were launched in a soft economy and then had to suffer from the problems of 2008 a few years later. A store like that can't survive in a weak economy. Perhaps Sears should have tried to integrate some The Great Indoors concepts into their regular stores. That might have been more tenable and that might have driven more traffic to their stores.

      The grocery game has historically been very difficult. Thus, I'm not surprised that Super Kmarts failed. I think even Target has had a hard time getting groceries to work for them which is why they've been very measured in opening Super Target locations versus traditional format stores.

      I never went to a Sears Essentials store, but I agree with you that Big Kmart was a dud. It was even a dud in 1990s built stores. We had plenty of newer Kmarts here in Houston between the ones Kmart built themselves and the relatively new Venture stores they brought. I was a loyal Kmart shopper, but the last few years leading to Kmart's 2002 bankruptcy were truly pathetic. The stores were boring, inventory was often sold out, items were often mislabeled, and there were few staff on hand causing long checkout lines even though there were few customers. Unfortunately, Lampert decided that the formula which led to Kmart's 2002 bankruptcy was a winning one and decided to keep Kmart on that path and put Sears on it as well. We see the not-so-surprising end result. Hopefully the remaining core of stores will continue on and maybe see greater success, but it's hard to see how Sears/Kmart will win back customers unless people figure out that Sears has some really terrific sales promotions.

  3. Looks very similar to the Longview store. I believe they used the old card system in the video game section to the very end.

    1. Wish I would have stopped by to see that. I passed by the store when I visited the Longview Mall. Speaking of Longview Mall, Sears will close there starting next week. Very sad news for the mall, but Dick's Sporting Goods should help keep that corridor alive until a replacement anchor is found.

  4. It's been along of time since I've seen Toys R Us inside. I don't remember there products being way up to the roof like some tiny Kmart's do but that's shows how long they've been gone for. I can't believe it's been 4 months since they've went out of business.

    1. This store was smaller than the typical TRU locations you find in larger cities. TRU is gone, but the Geoffrey's Toy Box displays have started showing up at the larger Kroger locations across the US. There is a list available online if you want to check one out, but I would not make a special trip to see one. They are just a small display in the middle of the main aisle at my local Kroger Marketplace.