The popular toy chain filed for liquidation late last week, triggering the likely closure or sale of all their USA stores.
Nickednamed the "Toy King" by the press during the chain's heyday, Mr Lazarus launched what became Toys R Us aged 25. "We have to find another store for our toys, for my son", said Mona Joshi, who visited the store with her husband.
The writers of The Simpsons have a reputation for predicting the future, and it seems that their physic capabilities led them to forecast the closing of Toys "R" Us-14 years before the toy franchise announced it was going out of business.
The industry has also lost millions to Toys "R" Us, including Larian's Van Nuys, Calif. -based MGA, which is owed about $12 million, according to court filings.
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"I think it's going to go more digital, people are going to go on Amazon and see what they do", said John Hughes, a Toys "R" Us shopper.
So far, almost $4,000 has been donated by Toys R Us fans.
Larian says he and the other investors, which he declined to name, believe salvaging part of the Toys R Us business will be good for the toy industry, customers and workers. He's CEO of Bratz doll-maker MGA Entertainment, which relies on Toys R Us for almost 1 in every 5 sales.
Toys R Us is struggling internationally, except in Asia.
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"When it comes to a liquidation, go there sooner rather than later if you want a toy that's hot", said Fox Business anchor Nicole Petallides. "The best memories of my three children when they were young was to go inside a Toys R Us".
Toys R Us had hoped to reorganize under the bankruptcy laws but opted to liquidate after what Toys R Us Chief Executive David Brandon called a "devastating" holiday shopping season past year. The stores created a magical feeling for children roaming aisles filled with Barbies, bikes and other toys laid out in front of them.
From the first Toys "R" Us outlet, opened in 1957 in the Maryland suburbs near his hometown of Washington, Lazarus stuck to a winning formula of high volume, discounted prices and cookie-cutter predictability. Thousands of buyers from around the world attend but back then, it was Lazarus whom manufacturers were most anxious to impress, said Marc Rosenberg, a veteran toy marketer and founder of SkyBluePink Concepts.
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