Toys ‘R’ Us Founder Charles Lazarus Dead At 94
Sad News: Charles Lazarus, who founded Toys “R” Us 70 years ago, died Thursday, just a week after the company announced it will be forced to close down all of its U.S. operations.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys ‘R’ Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” the statement obtained by PEOPLE reads. “He visited us in New Jersey just last year and we will forever be grateful for his positive energy, passion for the customer and love for children everywhere.”
The statement continues: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved one”
Lazarus opened a baby furniture store in Washington D.C. when he was just 25. He quickly realized that kids toys were drawing the most attention, not the furniture. That’s when the young entrepreneur had the idea that he would create a store that sold toys, and only toys.
He opened the first Toys “R” U.S. store in 1957, changing the way families across the country shopped for their children during the holiday season and beyond. Lazarus started expanding, making the store America’s preeminent shopping destinations, until he stepped down as CEO in 1994.
He died Thursday in Manhattan, Michael Goldstein, a close friend who was the company’s former chairman, said in a phone interview. He was 94.
The major toy company announced that they were going out of business after their longtime retail store faced fierce competition and high debt.
Looking Back On Charles Lazarus: