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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Goodbye toy stores

Uploaded: Feb 19, 2020
Over the weekend we were planning to take our kids to Talbots Toyland. Sadly we discovered that the store recently closed. We ended up saying goodbye to Ambassador Toys instead. It was sad to see the store almost empty. We are used to seeing Ambassador Toys packed with toys and little kids hanging out at the train table. We bought a handful of headbands and bracelets, but it was hard to say goodbye to a store that our kids enjoyed going to over the years.

Our kids love visiting toy stores and we feel very lucky that Cheeky Monkey is in Menlo Park. Going to a toy store/bookstore and dining out for lunch/dinner is a great family outing.

One of our favorite memories from Ambassador Toys was The Family Giving Tree. One year we went early enough to have a huge selection of wishes to choose from. Our kids each enjoyed looking through all of the wishes to find the perfect one to gift.

One of our favorite memories from Talbots Toyland was also around Christmas time. We enjoyed seeing Santa sitting right in the middle of the toy store. The line to visit Santa was short enough that kids could visit him multiple times and we took family photos. What a treat!

It was hard to say goodbye to two toy stores, but it reminded me how important it is take advantage of our free afternoons together as a family. I’m very thankful for all of the family memories we’ve had at these two toy stores over the past 7 years.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Suzanne, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 20, 2020 at 8:29 pm

It is so sad to see small businesses go. Nothing can replace the personal experience of going to a store and picking something out in person, especially toys for children. This is a magical experience and ordering toys on line cannot replace it. Our retail landscape is changing and sadly Palo Alto just becomes more yuppie everyday. Stanford Shopping Center hardly has anything affordable anymore for leisure shopping; I miss the fun stores that were there in the 80's and 90's. Please try to support local businesses as much as possible to avoid losing any more stores that give our area character!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 20, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Suzanne- Thanks for commenting! We will definitely miss taking our kids to these toy stores.

Posted by Toys Are Passe, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 2:43 pm

Times have changed. My 6 year old wants an iPhone 11 for her birthday.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 21, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Toys are Passé- It is interesting to see what kids are interested in right now

Posted by Mitigate, a resident of Esther Clark Park,
on Feb 22, 2020 at 2:35 pm

The good news is that with the stores closing, the employees are let go. This helps with dealing wth Palo,altos jobs/housing imbalance.
The city needs to ensure that a new business does not open in its place, unless they completely mitigate their impacts on the city.

Posted by Mary , a resident of Southgate,
on Feb 22, 2020 at 5:37 pm

I certainly agree with you, Cheryl, about taking advantage of opportunities to spend free afternoons together as a family. Going to toy stores/book stores with kids is fun for both parents and kids. I also completely agree with Suzanne, about supporting our local business that give our area character! I miss Palo Alto Sport and Toy, where we used to shop for many years as my kids were growing up.

Posted by Kyle Adams, a resident of Meadow Park,
on Feb 23, 2020 at 2:22 am

Kyle Adams is a registered user.

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. Kids wanted to live there.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 23, 2020 at 2:44 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mitigate - Thanks for commenting. It will be interesting to see what moves into both places.

Mary - Thanks for commenting. Yes, Palo Alto Sport and Toy was another great store. It was also sad to see it close.

Kyle Adams- Thanks for commenting and sharing your memories of Talbot’s. It was a very fun place to shop.

Posted by Adventure Toys!, a resident of Los Altos,
on Feb 24, 2020 at 9:05 am

Come to downtown Los Altos, we still have a lovely mix of shops and lots of great restaurants. Adventure Toys is fabulous!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 24, 2020 at 9:33 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Adventure Toys- We love checking out Adventure Toys and Linden Tree in Los Altos! The next time we head down I hope to also check out Bumble now that it has been expanded.

Posted by TonyB., a resident of Menlo Park,
on Feb 24, 2020 at 12:37 pm

As Ambassador Toys goes, so do other restaurants and small shops that disappear from Palo Alto, as greedy landlords fleece the pockets of the small business person. Palo Alto has become even more elitist and has changed dramatically, albeit not for the better, in the last forty years. The small business person is the backbone of this country and struggle mightily to make a livelihood for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, we won't see any change to this situation, as small business owners and restauranteurs will bypass Palo Alto altogether and open their enterprises in adjacent communities, or in more far-flung locales with lower overhead, that will value and support new, locally-owned businesses.

Posted by Mitigate, a resident of Esther Clark Park,
on Feb 24, 2020 at 1:12 pm

"as greedy landlords fleece the pockets of the small business person."

The "greedy landlord" boogeyman. Alwyas a good excuseto blame for the retail issues in the city.
I assume that all the people that complain about "greedy landlords" plan on selling their house s that they bought for $100K many years ago for $200K ( a nice profit) and not the $2-3 million they good get if they were greedy home owners.

But getting back to the issue- what about blaming the shoppers that buy online or shop in big cities with plenty of retail choices. What about the city of palo alto with their endless process and bureaucracy that makes running a business an issue. And what about the "neighbor hood watchdogs" that endlessly nitpick every project to death (think about the Michelin starred restauarnt on California avenue that almost didnt open because some worthless nobody complained that they were a half a parking spot short and this after they had to spemnd an extra 6-12 months jumping through palo alto hoops).

And landlords need to make money also--they have taxes to pay and upkeep on their buildings.

But it so much easier to get the local's juices flowing with terms like "greedy landlords"

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