Essex’s 5 lost Toys R Us stores and what they are now
When Toys R Us took over, all stores in the UK closed.
The toy seller has collapsed across the world, and to this day, there isn’t a single Toys R Us store still open.
Kids growing up today won’t know Geoffrey The Giraffe or the iconic Toys R Us song featured in TV commercials.
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But in Essex, the name has not completely disappeared.
Toys R Us stores have been closed for more than three years in the UK now, and the five Essex locations – three in Essex and two on the Greater London border – have mostly been turned into new stores.
But two places have remained empty and recall its glorious history.
Here’s what happened to the five Essex Toys R Us stores:
Lakeside Retail Park – Gray
One of Essex’s largest Toys R Us stores was in Grays, Essex, on Lakeside Retail Park.
The toy giant has taken a big unity between Argos and B&M.
Fortunately, a nearby store was looking for a slightly smaller space anyway.
Currys PC World, along with Carphone Warehouse, was located elsewhere in the business park.
But when Toys R Us closed, they seized the opportunity for a bigger presence and moved in.
Their old location, next to The Range, now remains empty.
Edinburgh Way – Harlow
When Toys R Us closed, a period of change took place at the Edinburgh Way Shopping Park in Harlow.
The nearby Chiquitos restaurant has also closed, leaving a large empty space at the edge of the shopping park.
Fortunately, both locations are now occupied.
Toys R Us has rightly been replaced by a Smyths toy store, allowing young people to always have a place to try out the latest toys.
Nearby, Chiquitos became Essex’s first Tim Hortons café.
The Canadian brand is known for its donuts, so it’s great to see new companies bringing the region to life.
Horns Road Shopping Park – Ilford
While not technically in Essex, the Ilford store on the Essex border would have been the closest Toys R Us for many children in West Essex.
When it closed, the Horns Road Shopping Park ended up with a large empty unit right next to the parking lot entrance – not pretty.
Fortunately, B&M has taken over the space and is now operating in the commercial park.
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One company that might not be very happy with this is Aldi, which is right next door.
Budget supermarkets are used to competition but maybe not that close!
Enfield Business Park – Enfield
Similar to Ilford, although technically not in Essex, Enfield’s Toys R Us has likely received a lot of visitors from people on the Essex border.
And anyone who has visited the Enfield Retail Park in recent years wouldn’t have noticed much of a change.
The store is still vacant with no replacement occupying the space for the past three years.
But it may not be for long.
Space has been reserved for a new Lidl store, which hopes to open a location on the site soon.
This means that Toys R Us’s memory may soon fade away for the residents of Enfield.
Southernhay – Basildon
Basildon’s Toys R Us store is unique – in fact, there is no plan in place to fill the empty unit.
The Basildon store is located in the city center along the Southernhay Road.
It is a double unit with Sports Direct, and even had a huge adjoining parking lot, now closed.
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The unit is as empty as it was when it closed in 2018, and wooden palisades line the store’s windows, meaning it’s indeed a stain on Main Street.
However, the signage remains in place, meaning this is the only place in Essex where you can still see a vibrant Toys R Us logo still in place.
There were plans to redevelop the site as part of the city regeneration project, but that plan has now been scrapped.
It looks like Toys R Us from Basildon may be able to stay in town for a while.
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