FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz

company_name = F.A.O. Schwarz
company_type = Subsidiary
foundation = 1862
location = New York, New York
industry = Retail
products = Toys,Clothing
parent = D. E. Shaw & Co.| homepage = [http://www.fao.com/ F.A.O Schwarz.com]

FAO Schwarz is the name of an upscale specialty toy retailer headquartered in New York City. FAO Schwarz was founded in 1862 under the name Toy Bazaar by German immigrant Frederick August Otto Schwarz, in Baltimore, where he and his brothers retailed toys from a fancy-goods store. Additional locations of Toy Bazaar followed in Philadelphia and Boston. However, it was the New York City location, where the name was changed to FAO Schwarz, that dominated the others in the family business after it was opened in 1870. The toy store became well-known for its unique plush toys and memorable environment that pioneered "entertainment retail," the philosophy that a store should be an experience for its attendees. In 1931 the New York location was moved to the southeast corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue (the site currently occupied by the Bergdorf Goodman Men's store).

Expansion and retreat

In 1963 the Schwarz family sold the business to Parent's Magazine. The business was subsequently sold to W.R. Grace in 1970, and to toy retailer Franz Carl Weber International of Zurich, Switzerland in 1974. Weber sold FAO Schwarz to the Christiana Companies in 1986, and the business was sold shortly afterward to Christiana Companies CEO Peter Harris and investor Peter C. Morse. In 1986 the New York Store was moved across 58th Street to its current location in the General Motors Building. FAO Schwarz was acquired by Dutch retail group KBB in 1990; Morse left the company, but Harris remained as CEO until 1992, when he was replaced by John Eyler. In 1998, KBB was acquired by Vendex NV, another Dutch retailer. Throughout the 1990s, FAO Schwarz opened new stores; the chain's peak occurred in 2000 when a total of 42 stores were located throughout the United States as KBB.

FAO Schweetz

In addition to FAO Schwarz toy stores, starting in 1996 standalone candy stores branded as "FAO Schweetz" were opened in Miami, at the Source Mall in Long Island, NY, at Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie, Illinois and at Water Tower Place in Chicago.


In 2001, The Right Start Company bought 23 of the 42 stores from Vendex, and the other nineteen unsold stores were immediately closed. In December 2003, Right Start, the parent of FAO Schwarz, filed for bankruptcy. They would emerge from bankruptcy in April 2004.

D. E. Shaw & Co.

In February 2004, investment firm D. E. Shaw & Co., L.P., acquired the FAO Schwarz brand, the FAO Schwarz stores in New York and Las Vegas, and FAO Schwarz's catalog and internet business. The New York and Las Vegas stores were reopened on Thanksgiving day 2004.


In October 2007, FAO Schwarz opened a 5,300 sq. ft store within the Macy's Chicago State Street flagship store (formerly Marshall Field's), which leaded to additional 275 F.A.O. Schwarz/Macy's locations opening up across the country in the 2008 Holiday Season. [http://www.plainvanillashell.com/article.asp?ID=8557]

Best & Co

In November 2007, FAO Schwarz acquired premium children's clothing company Best & Co., which has plans to expand. [http://multichannelmerchant.com/news/FAO-buys-Best-11132007/]

New York City location

The New York City store, located in the General Motors Building at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street in Manhattan, is the most popular F.A.O. Schwarz store, and a famous destination in the city. The store was redesigned by architect

The "Big" Piano

The New York store was featured in the 1988 Tom Hanks film "Big", in which Hanks and Robert Loggia danced "Heart & Soul" and "Chopsticks" on the store's large floor piano. It is said that Robert Loggia's character is based on then-CEO Peter Harris. [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094737/trivia Big (1988) - Trivia ] ]


Flagship stores


*Chicago - State Street (Flagship location)


*Las Vegas - Forum Shops at Caesars Palace (Flagship location)

New York

*New York City - Fifth Avenue at 58th Street (Flagship location)



*Scottsdale - Scottsdale Fashion Square


*Concord - Sun Valley Mall
*Daly City - Serramonte Center
*Mission Viejo - Shops at Mission Viejo
*Pleasanton - Stoneridge Shopping Center
*Santa Ana - Westfield Main Place
*San Francisco - Union Square
*San Diego - Fashion Valley


*Aventura - Aventura Mall
*Boca Raton- Town Center at Boca Raton
*Coral Springs - Coral Square Mall
*Miami - Dadeland Mall
*Miami - International Mall
*Orlando - Florida Mall
*Orlando - Mall at Mellina
*Palm Beach Gardens - The Gardens Mall
*St.Petersburg - Tyrone Square


*Atlanta - Lenox Square
*Alpharetta - Northpoint Mall
*Kennesaw - Town Center at Cobb


*Honolulu - Ala Moana Center


*Aurora - Westfield Fox Valley
*Chicago - Macys State Street
*Orland Park - Orland Park Shopping Center


*Indianapolis - Castleton Square


*Florence - Florence Mall


*Natick - Natick Mall
*Peabody - North Shore Mall


*Burnsville - Burnsville Center
*Edina - Southdale Shopping Center
*Minneapolis - City Shopping Center

New Jersey

*Cherry Hill - Cherry Hill Mall
*Eatontown - Monmouth Mall
*Rockaway - Rockaway Town Square Mall
*Short Hills - The Mall at Short Hills
*Wayne - Willowbrook Mall

New York

*Albany - Colonie Center
*Huntington - Walt Whitman Mall


*Cincinnati - Kenwood Towne Center


*King of Prussia - King of Prussia Mall
*Philedelphia - City Center


*Wauwatosa - Mayfair Mall

Film references

*In the final scene of Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite", main characters Lenny Weinrib (Woody Allen) and Linda (Mira Sorvino) have a chance encounter in FAO Schwarz.
*In "Big Business", Bette Midler's character runs into her sister's husband and son unexpectedly in FAO Schwarz.
*In "Baby Boom", Diane Keaton's character goes on a shopping spree at FAO Schwarz, buying toys for her new daughter.
*In "Home Alone 2", Macaulay Culkin's character visits a fictional toy store called Duncan's Toy Chest, which is based on FAO Schwarz.
*In an episode of the Nickelodeon series "The Fairly Odd Parents" Timmy is seen reading a DOA Shmirtz catalog. DOA Shmirtz is a word play on FAO Schwartz and it featured a teddy bear above the title instead of a toy soldier.
*In "Arrested Development", Tony Hale's character is given a job at an Iraqi owned toy store in Orange County called F.A.O. al-Jubaaly Muhammed a-Abat.
*In the 1987 film "Spaceballs", Yoghurt markets his merchandise in "FAO Schwartz".
*In the film "Big", Tom Hanks' character is shown playing "Heart and Soul" on a giant piano keyboard. (In an episode of "The Simpsons", Homer Simpson is dancing on a giant piano similar to this scene.)


External links

* [http://www.fao.com FAO Schwarz Website]
* [http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/52/FAO-Schwarz.html History of FAO Schwarz from inception to 2001.]
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FNP/is_23_40/ai_80756332 Article on Right Start's acquisition of FAO Schwarz.]
* [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/03/1070351657436.html?from=storyrhs Article on FAO Schwarz bankruptcy filings.]
* [http://collectdolls.about.com/library/weekly/aa020603.htm Another article on bankruptcy filing and store closures.]

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