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Northgate Toys ‘R’ Us closing

Posted by Mai Ling on December 28th, 2011


In a little over a month, the Toys “R” Us located at Northgate Mall is closing its doors. There are signs at and around the store advertising the eventual closure along with 30 percent off storewide.

You’ve got another month to shop and wait for prices to drop further, according to Meghan Kennedy with Toys “R” Us corporate communications:

The Northgate Toys“R”Us store is closing at the end of January due to the end of the company’s lease term for the property. We’ve enjoyed serving the Northgate community for many years and will continue to look for nearby locations to provide consumers with the products and services that Toys“R”Us offers. We are working diligently to place as many full-time and part-time employees as possible from the Northgate store to our locations in the area.

With Thornton Place filling much of its retail space this spring with the new University of Washington Neighborhood Clinic there in March, that area could get quite a bit more foot traffic in the future. What would you like to see in that space?

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18 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Anne Tally // Dec 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

    It doesn’t matter to me what goes in that space. I haven’t been to that end of the mall since it became an open air drug mart.

  • 2 Simon // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    That Toys R Us has always had a kind of creepy feel, not a place you want to bring your kid. Creepy both outside (if not drug transactions then teenagers camped out in their cars blasting music) and inside (run-down, depressed-looking staff, Babys R Us section with sparsely filled clothes racks, everything generally in disarray).

    That might be a great location for a police precinct, actually.

  • 3 Susan // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I am surprised they are closing. They were always busy, not that I shopped there much as I prefer Top Ten Toys in Greenwood.

  • 4 Maple Leaf Dad // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    @Simon — nice idea with the police precint, I would love a such a strong police presence so close. But having police rushing out of the parking lot from time to time for in-progress crimes would probably make it too dangerous for the setting.

  • 5 Phillip // Dec 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I’d like to see a Trader Joe’s but I can’t imagine one in that location…

  • 6 Thorton Dude // Dec 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    With all of the residential projects that have sprung up around that block I would love to see another grocery store. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, doesn’t matter to me. That Toys R Us was so disconnected from the rest of the mall, and yes Simon, creepy.

  • 7 Donkey // Dec 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    An obama ‘get your mind right’ reeducation camp, complete with grant distribution center.

  • 8 SinceDayOne // Dec 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    The store’s demise began the day it opened when it did not offer inside access to the mall above. Having to walk outside to get in deterred many a shopper – infrequent visitors probably didn’t even know that there was a Toys ‘r’ Us beneath them!

    For years this store has had a reputation among toy collectors as the worst Toys ‘r’ Us in the region – the employees, by their own admissions, picked out highly collectible toys and game systems before offering any up to the public, and were more often than not, sold on eBay or to other customers for a “finder’s fee.”

    The shelves were always unkempt, and the staff attitude was always at best “just showing up for a pay check.” I agree that it has long been kind of a “creepy” store and out of touch with the improvements in quality, service, presentation and customer service occurring in the stores in the main mall above them.

    The uncontrolled drug sales in the parking lot outside doesn’t help the “family friendly”feeling – I have seen many a deal go down, and have witnessed mall security drive AWAY from those activities without notifying SPD. Out fo sight out of mind, I guess.

    From information I have received firsthand from current employees at the store, the Northgate store will be “replaced” by a new store in Redmond next year. Also this current employee has informed me that with exception of the highest level staff, all employees will lose their jobs and if they wish to continue employment at any other Toys ‘r’ Us store they will have to re-apply. They will receive a severance package however. Employees were notified of the closing two weeks before Christmas.

  • 9 Anonymous // Dec 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    As a former associate, I have to object to the remarks saying that this store’s decline began the day it opened. I worked at this very store from before it’s grand opening in 1996 through the christmas season of 2000. Customer service has alway been number one on TRU’s priorities. And we celebrated our customer service. Though there has been a decline in customer service, it most certainly did not start at the beginning.

    As for “shady” activities outside the store, I have grown from a young child to an adult member of this community, living about a mile from Northgate Mall. All through my youth I’ve witnessed possible drug related activities all around the mall parking lots and even inside. So to single out the area outside TRU is a bit presumptuous.

    I will miss the good times and friends I have made at Toys “R” Us.

  • 10 SinceDayOne // Dec 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Anonymous – please re-read and comprehend my opening statement – the store’s demise began when inside access was not provided.

    Customer service was very good when the store first opened, until Kevin Myrbo, the store director in the early years left for the Federal Way store. The succession of directors, workers, and customer service ethic of employees began to deteriorate quickly after Kevin left. The decline in the store’s customer service was not helped by some store directors being themselves “collectors” or re-sellers.

    It’s all water under the bridge now.

    As for drug deals, the south parking lot is especially active, but yes, it occurs all around and throughout the mall. When I saw mall security see, stop, then drive AWAY from a drug deal, I sat in my car and watched as successive cars pulled up to the dealer’s car and make “transactions.” The SPD never arrived, so I assume drug dealing is low priority for SPD or mall security never bothered to inform SPD.

    To be fair, drug deals go down in the Northgate Target/Best Buy parking lot during business hours in the morning.

  • 11 Anonymous // Dec 31, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    1. Move the Post Office there. I hate having to go North of Taco Del Mar to that hole in the wall.

    2. We could put a needle exchange table out front for the new business. SPD can get familiar with faces.

    3. Another restaurant? Something a little cheaper than Red Robin or Azteca like a pizza place? I doubt Harry from Atlantic Street Pizza could be talked into it. Dang!

    4. Definitely not another mattress store. Although a furniture store would be nice.

    5. A bakery?

    Ideally I’d love to see a Bartells there but they just wasted a ton of money refurbishing their Roosevelt store in a sad attempt to compete with Whole Foods.

  • 12 Allan // Jan 3, 2012 at 2:37 am

    How can a toy store be so devoid of magic? Big box feel, interrogation lights…I always hated going here, usually to return/exchange a birthday gift for my kids. I recall seeing shelves of children’s DVDs right next to shelves with complete seasons of “Desperate Housewives”, both shelves marked “Family” WTF?! Well, if Hooters is a “family restaurant”, well then why not? Charles Manson had a family too.

  • 13 john o // Jan 4, 2012 at 1:08 am

    TRADER JOES and a neighborhood police precinct.

  • 14 Susan // Jan 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Trader Joe’s would be awesome. I hate going to the one in the U District.

  • 15 Kat // Jan 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I wish George Bartell would put a store in that space. I was hoping he would have put one where Longs used to be, that would have been a good location – more competion for Target & Walgreens.

  • 16 Anonymouse // Jan 5, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    To people who keep mentioning putting in a police precinct: The North Precinct is right across from North Seattle Community College. It’s not that far from the mall so that wouldn’t solve anything.

    @Kat, having worked for Bartell Drugs as a kid and having shopped there for decades, I predict they will go under within 5 years. They’re out of touch with the community and pricing it’s unbelievable. Very similar to what Nordstrom is going through.

  • 17 anoymous // Jan 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    as a old past employee im kind of happy that toys r us is leaving. the prices where high and the staff i worked with some where friendly and the other stuck up employees who didn’t like their job and pun other stuff on the new employees they were unfriendly and disrespectful. not saying it was a nice job wish i made a little bit more to live off of. the only way you could make the job work was if you were a student living at home. i hope they put a nice restaurant or better store in this spot. wish of luck to all the of all the employees who have to be laid off. its a tough job market out there.

  • 18 Auntie // Jan 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Very disappointed to know that NGate will be w/o a toy/baby store!