The famous toy store F.A.O. Schwarz closed its doors for the last time on Wednesday July 14, 2015. For over a hundred years, the toy bazaar drew kids of all ages to witness its impressive array of toys. At its heyday, the toy emporium had 40 locations around the world and its Fifth Avenue store was a prime tourist destination in New York City. It was forced to shut down due to increasing rents and competition from online retailers.
Click-A-Brick Toys Co-Founder Jason Smith expresses dismay at the news of the iconic toy store shuttering. “I was saddened by the news,” Smith said. “I can still remember walking through the doors of the store as a child. It left a very real mark on me. It was a place that opened up a world of wonder and broadened the limits of my imagination. Just stepping into that place made me think that everything was possible. I strive to emulate that sense of wonder with our Click-A-Brick brand of toys.”
The founder - and namesake of the store - Frederick August Otto Schwarz came to New York in 1870. Under the administration of F.A.O, it quickly became successful. He was a well known sight at the toy fairs of Nuremberg and to French and English toymakers. He eventually became known as the U.S. Agent of Santa Claus.
Successive generations only increased the store’s fame and prosperity. It moved to its current iconic location on Fifty-eighth street in 1931. Celebrities and royal figures alike would come to shop there. It was here that one could find on display toys like nowhere else in the world.
Click-A-Brick Toys Co-Founder Georg de Gorostiza says this reputation led him straight there. “I remember that my parents brought me there as a child so they could enjoy it with me in New York,” de Gorostiza said. “It was the best time of my life. I lost myself in there for hours. I think that it definitely influenced my decision to get into the toy industry and motivated me to offer children unique experiences like our building block toy sets.”
Click-A-Brick laments that the changing nature of the toy industry has shut down one of the most iconic toy stores in the world. “While those old days may not return,” de Gorostiza said, “the toy industry still has a lot of potential in its future.”