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June 29, 2018

Toys 'R' Us stores across the U.S. closed Friday and it brought up a lot of memories

The company has permanently closed all of its 700 U.S. stores

Retail Toys R Us
Toys 'R' Us Kristoffer Tripplaar/USA TODAY/SIPA

A logo sign outside of a Toys 'R' Us retail store in Frederick, Maryland on September 23, 2017.

Toys "R" Us Inc stores across the U.S. closed their doors forever on Friday and American kids and parents alike can't help but get sentimental.

The toy retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September but then announced in March it would sell its operations in Canada, Asia and Europe and close its 700 U.S. locations — 28 of which are in Pennsylvania.

The 70-year-old retailer had stores in South Philly at Oregon Avenue and Third Street, as well as a store in the King of Prussia Mall. In New Jersey, the chain's home state, this week's closures means saying goodbye to 22 remaining locations, including shops in Cherry Hill, Mays Landing and Vineland. Delaware has one location in Newark.

Experts are saying the move will undoubtedly hurt the longterm growth of large product producers like Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. as well as stunt innovation and opportunity for smaller toymakers. But analysts have pointed to other retailers like Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble and Five Below, who may benefit from the closures and provide opportunity for toymakers.

Party City is already capitalizing on the news with the announcement of pop-up toy stores.

In its final days, you could almost hear a collective sigh on social media from all the adults who grew up getting the Toys "R" Us catalogue in the mail as kids.

The company's last words were posted to their website, "Promise us just this one thing: Don't ever grow up. Play on!"

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On its storefronts, the company posted signs that read, "I guess everyone has grown up. There's no more Toys 'R' Us kids," a pun on the store's catchy jingle that called us all Toys "R" Us kids.

It hit a nerve for anyone who remembers going to the toy store with their parents to pick out a board game, watching Saturday morning cartoons or anyone who begged mom for candy in the Blockbuster movie rental checkout line. 

Or maybe it was just the depressing image of the retailer's mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe, being unemployed, that really hurt.

Here are some of the most relatable and oddly heartbreaking social media reactions to the news: