What We're Really Losing with Babies R Us
My baby is still young, so I haven’t spent much time at Toys R Us. Therefore my feelings about it closing are practically not existent. Babies R Us, however, has been a frequent stop in my travels for the last eight months. As we prepare for the retailer to close its doors, I feel like we are losing more than just a store.
1. Another classic business.
Metro Detroit is actually one of most divided metro areas I’ve ever seen. North of the city there are affluent suburbs with large populations, and with that, lots of new and old businesses that do very well. South of the city, however, is considered a “working class” area with spotty populations. We seldom see new businesses open and stay open. So in this area, when a big business closes and leaves behind an empty building, we pretty much anticipate having to look at its shell for several years (at least). It makes our area look like it’s failing, and doesn’t draw new businesses to the area. So it’s a tiny heartbreak any time a business--particularly an old and trusted one--closes or leaves.
2. A place where I KNOW I can find the baby product I’m looking for
I love Target. Their prices are competitive with Babies R Us and they have a decent--and growing--baby section. They also have coffee and popcorn, so like...I REALLY love Target. But when I am shopping for myself or for a momfriend, I’d rather go to a place that is dedicated to babies and has a big variety to choose from.
The internet is also great, but a small part of me fears that if I only shop online, all the brick and mortar stores around me will crumble and fail and it will be my fault. (I must be very important.)
3. A safehaven
Most importantly, at Babies R Us, I don’t feel like my daughter and I are an inconvenience to anyone. Thanks to their Mothers Room, I’m able to comfortably nurse my daughter with ample space and no rush to leave. No one will look at me wishing I would cover up or wonder what I’m doing. I don’t have to wonder if there’s a changing table, which bathroom it’s in, or figure out how to lay her down on some surface without getting poop anywhere.
I can also trust that no stranger at Babies R Us will try to touch my baby, because they have one too and understand that that’s gross. Everyone at Babies R Us walks around quietly, not disturbing anyone else, because we’re all there for the same quiet reprieve that we need when we’ve spent the day with a needy infant.
My hope is that some wealthy investor or another company will recognize the gap left behind by BRU and fill it quickly. In the meantime, I’ll be at the liquidation sale.