Good morning, troops. It's Tuesday, June 26.
As of this writing, you have only about 60 more hours to patronize the Peoria outlet of Toys "R" Us. The toy store at Westlake Shopping Center is to close permanently at 9 p.m. Thursday, according to an employee who answered the telephone when Nick in the Morning called.
The adjacent Babies "R" Us store also is expected to go out of business then.
All of about 200 remaining Toys "R" Us stores in the United States are to close no later than Friday, according to multiple reports. Some stores are to remain open in other countries, including Canada.
Toys "R" Us had about 700 stores and 33,000 employees nationally when it announced in March it was going out of business. Last year, when Toys "R" us declared bankruptcy, it had almost 1,700 stores.
The final demise of what once called itself the world's biggest toy store might have been a bit of a surprise, although perhaps not entirely unexpected.
Earlier, the 70-year-old chain had announced about 180 stores were to close by mid-April as part of a bankruptcy restructuring. Under that plan, the Peoria Toys "R" Us was to remain open.
Locally, Toys "R" Us is yet another national and regional retailer that's disappearing. The same is happening to Bergner's, the department-store chain founded in Peoria. Macy's also exited the Peoria market a few years ago.
The old Macy's spot in Northwoods Mall has been filled, by an entertainment complex and a furniture store. No clue yet as to what might replace the other stores.
It's easy to blame internet shopping or big-box store proliferation or Toys "R" Us' demise, but at least one source suggests that chain sustained too many self-inflicted wounds. Too much debt, about $5 billion, resulted in not enough money to renovate and spruce up Toys "R" Us stores.
"It's hard to sell toys in a cold, warehouse environment," a retail consultant told CNN.
We have been out of the toy-buying demographic for a while, so we haven't been to Toys "R" Us in many a moon. It's possible the stores haven't changed much since this commercial was aired ad nauseam at Christmastime in the 1970s and '80s.
Regardless, soon it no longer will be the Toys "R" Us time of year in Peoria, or just about everywhere else. The big wheel keeps turning, but there will be one fewer place to buy a Big Wheel.
The song heard on the way to work was big when the original Big Wheel was popular, and when Toys "R" Us was popular, too, come to think of it.