In 2007, I was hired at Nintendo as the Director of Merchandising tasked with changing the retail environment in the video game category to better resonate with parents, families, and an expanded audience.
Two pivotal events happened that year in my career. One, I had the opportunity to meet my friend, mentor, and boss Kevan; and second, I was invited to accompany our executive team to New York to present my ideas on the future of retail and video games to the Toys”R”Us CEO and President.
Little did I know that those experiences would inform the future in such a meaningful way.
Twelve years later, Kevan (advisor and early investor in b8ta) approached me and my co-founder Vibhu (b8ta CEO) and introduced us to a group of individuals that would later go on to become our partners at Tru Kids.
While the story itself is quite serendipitous, what ultimately lead us to this position is a testament to the brand and experience that we have built at b8ta over the last four years.
I’m excited that we can now translate our learning from b8ta into a new experience at Toys”R”Us. Later this year, we’re planning to open two re-imagined Toys”R”Us stores in the Houston Galleria and Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ.
These new experiences will be like walking into Geoffrey’s closet. Imagine an area where you can build and tinker with blocks and toys. Take a photo with Geoffrey, so that Mom can post it on Instagram. Preview the latest movies and content from your favorite characters and shows. Read a book under Geoffrey’s TreeHouse. The experiences and opportunities will make it so that you never want to leave.
The new stores will be roughly 6,500 sq. ft. of magic, with experience rooms and feature shops that bring to life some of the most iconic toy brands, but will also dare to introduce kids and parents to a whole new world of toys focused on new and emerging makers. While we’ll only be able to share these experiences with a few communities this year, we’re already finding a few new places for Geoffrey to call home next year.
As a parent, I’m excited to partner with Richard Barry and the entire Tru Kids team to build an experience that we’re all proud to share with millions of other kids, parents, and our families.