Kids who grew up in the Bay Area are lamenting the loss of a seven-decade-old toy retailer in San Mateo that was a mecca in a legion of local childhoods. Citing the "retail apocalypse," the iconic Talbot's Toyland with its huge T-Rex in the entry is calling it quits.
The store's general manager Keith Schumacker tells KPIX that foot traffic had been "off" all year long, and "we were hoping that the Christmas season would be enough to keep it going for another year or two and it just never happened." Schumacker has worked at the store since he was 15, and he tells the station that despite a booming local economy, "retail is suffering" and Talbot's is no exception.
The shelves of the store are quickly emptying, though an exact closing date hasn't been set — it's likely to be in January or February, Schumacker says.
Meanwhile, the eulogies and fond childhood memories will continue to pour out. Local food writer Marcia Gagliardi writes on Facebook, "So many childhood memories of pure kid happiness came from Talbot’s! All my Breyer horses and every single LEGO kit came from that red-and-white striped shop. I wanted to live there."
Talbot's has been in business in downtown San Mateo, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and South B Street, since 1953. As the San Mateo Daily Journal reports, Talbot's was a consistent stop for the Bay Area famous, including Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson, who brought his family there, and onetime 49er Joe Montana. Singer Neil Young was known to purchase Lionel train sets there, too.
Some of the store's signature display items, including a wood carving of Gepetto and Pinocchio and a 6-foot-tall Sigikid stuffed bear, are being sold off at discounts.
As SFGate notes, the story echoes that of Jeffrey's Toys on Market Street, which was forced to close in 2016, inspiring much public lamenting. The store — which is said to have inspired Pixar's Toy Story — has since reopened on Kearny Street.
For now, you have a matter of weeks, or maybe a month, to get to San Mateo and say your goodbyes to Talbot's — or grab a keepsake.