SAN MATEO, Calif. (KTVU) - One of the largest independent toy stores in California is closing down for good.
Talbot’s Toyland in San Mateo has been in business since 1953. The owners said several reasons including competition from online shopping to high expenses of operating a large retail store, are to blame.
On the corner of 5th Avenue and B Street in downtown San Mateo, Talbot’s Toyland has been attracting kids and adults since the 1950s but store owners have announced the city's only toy store is closing.
“It’s sad,” said General Manager Keith Schumacker. “You’ve got a business that’s been here for 66 years that's been part of the community for that long.”
Schumacker started working at the store when he was 15 years old. He’s now 43 years old and the general manager. He’s one of 23 employees who will soon be out of a job.
“To watch something you had every anticipation from retiring from end, it’s gut-wrenching,” said Schumacker.
He said Talbot’s Toyland is one of the few brick and mortar toy stores left in the Bay Area. It’s home to 45,000 toys.
Famous people have shopped there including Neil Young, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. Larry Miller has been a regular since 1978.
“I was into model trains mostly and they had the biggest selection of model trains anywhere,” said Customer Larry Miller.
Schumacker said Talbot’s Toyland had trouble staying afloat with the popularity of online shopping.
“I still have people coming in and going I know you are going out of business and I really want to support you but do you match Amazon,” said Schumacker.
He also believes people’s shopping habits have changed. He said the store’s hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. don't work well for working families.
“Buying a house around here is going to cost you a minimum of a million dollars or more and both mom and dad are working to make those mortgage payments,” said Schumacker.
Beverly Maschio is a former employee. Her youngest son now works at Talbot’s Toyland. She’s taking a piece of the store with her, a grizzly bear that greeted customers. It’s priced at $500.
“It’s very sad,” said Maschio. “I feel like I just want to cry. We will have some part of the store with us all the time.”
There’s no final date on the store's last day. The general manager said it will likely be sometime in January or February. There’s no word on what will take its place.