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Utah shoppers lament announced closing of Toys R Us

MURRAY — As Tin Tran walked in the parking lot away from the exit of the Toys R Us store on South State Street in Murray, he relished one of the last times he would get to have the experience with his 3-year-old daughter.

The Rose Park resident considered it one of the simple pleasures of fatherhood — taking his little girl to the toy store.

"The experience of the kid going to the store, seeing all the toys and (how) it brightens up their face — it's nice," he said. "They see the toys right there. On the internet, it's nice because they deliver straight to your house, but it's not the same experience. At the store, you can actually enjoy and touch the toy and play with the toys. It's way better than the internet."

Toys R Us announced it would be closing or selling more than 800 stores nationwide, impacting approximately 30,000 employees. The closures will include four Toys R Us stores and two Babies R Us locations in Utah.

For local consumers, the move will prompt a major change in the way many shop for toys and gifts for the kids in their lives. West Jordan resident Jordan Gates said he shops at Toys R Us "once a week" for his 7-year-old son.

"It's only toys, how can it not be fun?" he said with a laugh. For his family, the closures will be a big disappointment, he said.

"I guess (I will) shop online now," he said. "The only way I'll probably do now is online."

He said that while he prefers the experience of going to the store with his son rather than the impersonal nature of online shopping, there isn't much he can do about it.

"It's kind of hard to see (Toys R Us) go," Gates said.

Similarly, Marla Linder of Sandy said she'll miss the huge selection of toys and games that are available "right at your fingertips."

"I sure appreciate the stores more than online. I guess I'm old school," she said. "I like being able to see it and touch it rather than just seeing a picture (online)."

Daniela Quiza of Magna said she'll miss the huge selection at Toys R Us, but will have to figure out a new place to purchase toys for kids in her family. The challenge will be finding another adequate brick and mortar retailer rather than resorting to virtual stores.

"I hate buying stuff online," she said. "Because sometimes you don't get what you expect when you buy online. And it's more hassle to return it so that you can get the right thing."

She said that inconvenience will make the shopping experience a lot less enjoyable.

For some parents, the experience of taking their kids to the toy store has been one of the pleasures of parenthood — one that cannot easily be replaced, Tran said.

"The experience of you and your kids going to the store together, that's the joy of it," he said. "The good memories are (always) going to be there. But from now on, it's not going to be the same. The memories are better than sitting at home and clicking on the computer."