After shuttering its iconic Fifth Avenue toy store due to rising rents and a changing retail landscape, FAO Schwarz has reopened just in time for the Christmas shopping season—sending its toy soldiers to man the doors of a brand-new flagship location in New York City.
On Friday, FAO Schwarz opened its new location in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center, a new store with a new owner, but with a lot of the charm of its former location. Visitors to the new 20,000-square-foot store will recognize old favorites like the famous giant clock tower and, naturally, the giant floor piano made famous in the movie Big.
The store’s 2.5 floors are filled with teddy bears, nostalgic favorites, the latest toys, rocket ships, giant gummy bears, kid-sized shopping carts, and interactive experiences all meant to return a little wonder to the world. “FAO Schwarz was built on in-store experiences, which has made it a global destination over the years,” says David Conn, CEO of ThreeSixty Brands, FAO’s new owners, which is also the company behind The Sharper Image and Melissa & Doug Toys.
Now that the flagship location is re-ensconced on Fifth Avenue, the company is already looking to expand with pop-up locations in Britain, Spain, and Australia, as well as a permanent store in Beijing. But first, FAO has to square off against Amazon, survive the madcap Christmas season, and hopefully pay the rent in Rockefeller Center.