The Toys R Us Scavenger hunt has a lot of moms scouring the Internet to find out what year FAO Schwartz was founded. The store, which has been featured in numerous hit films including the Tom Hanks hit Big, has been around since 1862 and is the oldest toy retailer in the United States. It is now the destination of many celebrities to do their luxury toy stockups especially at their New York City flagship location.
FAO Schwarz wasn’t always a luxury toy retailer having gotten its start in Baltimore in 1862 where it operated under the name of Toy Bazaar. The store which was owned by Frederick August Otto Schwarz soon expanded to Philadelphia and Boston. It wasn’t until 1880 that the Scwarz family moved its operations to New York City where it laid claim to being the largest dealer of toys in the city. In 1896, the Schwarz family brought Santa Clause into the mix by proclaiming itself “The Original Santa Headquarters in New York”.
FAO Schwarz has grown from its humble roots to become the top toy luxury retailer with more than 40 stores around the world.