Party City hopes to fill Toys R Us void with ‘Toy City’ pop-ups

The disappearance of Toys R Us this summer has left a void for shoppers this holiday season.

One that Rockaway-based Party City is eager to fill with its new pop-up store concept, Toy City.

“We are excited to bring the Toy City concept to consumers in the New Jersey market,” Ryan Vero, retail president of Party City, said. “The Toy City concept is a logical extension of our brand — one that allows us to leverage our existing pop-up store capabilities and capitalize on the category whitespace that recently has been created.”

According to Vero, Party City will open a total of 10 pop-up stores in New Jersey from September through December, including five combination Toy City and Halloween City pop-up stores, in Rockaway, Eatontown, Deptford, Iselin — all previous Toys R Us locations — and Paramus; one Halloween City location in Clifton that will then convert to a Toy City pop-up store after Oct. 31; and four stand-alone Halloween City pop-up stores.

These pop-up stores will join nearly 50 Toy City locations nationwide this season.

“This year is considered to be an initial Toy City pilot test that we can learn from and expand next year, if we feel it is appropriate and advantageous for the company to do so,” Vero said.

With the understanding that Toys R Us’ demise was greatly due to the rise of online retailers such as Amazon, Vero said the business model of Toy City will be the best brick-and-mortar solution available.

“We believe we have a unique opportunity to test the toy market in a very strategic way this season through the extension of our current pop-up stores,” he said. “Also, by co-locating our Toy City and Halloween City pop-up stores, we are providing customers with the opportunity to shop across categories all at once in an integrated and seamless way that services their end-to-end seasonal celebration needs.”

Landlords and employees will benefit, too, Vero added.

“There are many benefits to the Toy City and Halloween City leasing structure that are attractive to Party City, the landlords we are working with and the seasonal team members that we employ,” he said. “For example, one of the great benefits to this integrated model is being able to offer seasonal employees four to five months of work, as opposed to two or three, which creates greater labor continuity.”

Party City also will continue to operate its more than 900 party supply stores nationwide.

“Party City’s vertical model is a key differentiator for the company,” Vero said. “We are the only party goods supplier to directly control every step of the brand development process and overall value chain — from design, sourcing and production through the sale of products across all channels.

“Not only does this model enhance our profitability, but also it sets us apart from competitors. …  The insights we gain at retail come full circle as we tailor our product offerings to consumers’ evolving tastes — and it’s all done with unmatched speed to market.

“With our unrivaled breadth of assortment and expanding distribution footprint across domestic and international markets, we remain the destination of choice for consumers’ celebrations.”