Guest Commentary: Alycia Monaco, Class of 2018
The day that F.A.O. Schwarz closed its doors in July of 2015, I knew the retail industry was having trouble. The toy store, with its famous floor piano as seen in Big starring Tom Hanks, would become a part of New York City history. Around the corner on 42nd street, Toys ‘R Us would remain open despite astronomical rent rates in the area. (For those wondering, the big piano now has a place in the Herald’s Square Macy’s).
The Washington DC based company filed for bankruptcy earlier this week. Toys “R” Us originally named “Children’s Supermart” focused on selling baby supplies, and toys. It later evolved into what we know as Toys “R” Us. It’s location? 2461 18th Street NW—some of you may know that as Madam’s Organ today.
After talking to my parents and grandparents about the bankruptcy, we began to talk about the fond memories that my brother and I had while we growing up. Each year we would pick out a toy during the holiday season. It was my dad, a small business owner, who told me that Toys “R” Us killed the ‘mom and pop’ toy stores back in the day. I immediately thought of Amazon.
“The online world has effectively destroyed brick and mortar—as far as amazon goes,” said Anthony Monaco, my dad and president of a small marketing company. “The convenience of clicking a button and having it delivered to your house is outweighing the inconvenience of going to brick and mortar stores.”
While bankruptcy does not mean it’s the end, I thought the conversation I had with my family was interesting. Amazon has become a power giant in many industries: books, clothes, home décor, media stream, and even food. Where does the power end? And is there the same thrill of buying online as going to pick out something in the store?
It is important to note that the rise of technology is not the reason for Amazon’s success. While it is scary to see the power they are gaining, it is certainly well deserved. The convenience to the customer is why Amazon succeeds, and will continue to succeed. The days of retail as we know have been dwindling, and Toys “R” Us just happens to be the next to succumb to Amazon—a company that is considering the needs of the modern consumer.