Charles Lazarus, Founder of Toys R Us, Dead at 94; Is it Irony or Tragedy?

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"Toys R Us could never really be Toys R Us without Charles Lazarus. Perhaps, in the same sense,  Charles Lazarus could not be Charles Lazarus without Toys R Us."

What adjective would you use to describe the passing of Charles Lazarus? Would it be: Ironic? Tragic? Upsetting? Disturbing? Surprising? Understandable? Or would it simply be all of those and more. The fact that the man who founded Toys R Us has died just one week after the company he founded announced it was shutting all of its US stores defies one's ability to capture the moment in a word or two. 

Toys R Us could never really be Toys R Us without Charles Lazarus. Perhaps, in the same sense,  Charles Lazarus could not be Charles Lazarus without Toys R Us. After all, wasn't Charles' ultimate Toys R Us kid, Toys R Us itself?

Those of us around long enough can remember when the Toys R Us headquarters was located in Paramus, NJ. We can also remember the oversized parking spot, situated right in the middle of the parking lot, that accommodated his limousine. Like his automobile, he was a bigger than life person who injected his love of not just toys but the business of toys into the entire toy industry.

So, whether Charles could not live in a world without Toys R Us or whether it was just his time, its with a sad farewell that we give a departing wave to a toy industry giant.

Bon Voyage Charles. 

2 thoughts

  1. Charles Lazarus was a great innovator and businessman. He built an amazing company and then watched those who knew “better” systematically change everything that made it great. There was a time when a toy company could count on TRU to be a kind of partner. Once CL was gone TRU became an enemy. Insane chargebacks, nonsensical terms, and a reticence to put things in writing. It paid lip service to customers and workers and thew away all that Lazarus built. It may not be medically accurate, but I think he died of a broken heart.

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