Bethany Clough

Empty no more: These retailers are taking over Toys R Us, Babies R Us in Fresno area

All Fresno-area former Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores have renters

There's new life for old Fresno-area Toys R Us/Babies R Us locations.
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There's new life for old Fresno-area Toys R Us/Babies R Us locations.

When Toys R Us and Babies R Us closed, they left some big empty buildings behind in the Fresno area.

Big spaces like that can sometimes be hard to fill. Some of the former Mervyn’s spaces were empty for years. And lately, many large retailers are closing stores lately, not opening them.

But in the little more than a year since Toys R Us and its sister store closed, all three Fresno-area locations have attracted new renters who are either already open or planning to.

Here’s what you need to know about who is opening, when and where:

1. Babies R Us: The store is next to Party City at 7370 N. Blackstone Ave. in Fresno, just south of River Park. It’s going to be a Big Lots – but maybe not the Big Lots you’re familiar with. Keep reading for more details on the upgraded stores the discounter is planning that look a lot different than the old ones.

A Big Lots representative confirmed that the retailer plans to open a store there, with a grand opening planned for the fall.

The store will technically be a relocation. The company did not say which store would move, but only one store on that end of town hasn’t already moved into a new location: the Big Lots at the Northgate shopping center on Blackstone Avenue between Bullard and Shaw avenues.

The Big Lots on West Shaw Avenue in Fresno and the Big Lots on Shaw Avenue in Clovis have both moved to new, larger locations recently. The only other Big Lots in the Fresno area is at Kings Canyon Road and Chestnut Avenue.

2. Toys R Us, Clovis: You may have read our story about Hobby Lobby planning to open a location in the former Toys R Us at 1425 Shaw Ave. near Sunnyside Avenue.

The popular craft and home retailer confirmed that it has signed a lease to open a store on the site, and is planning an August 2019 opening.

The building is now empty, stripped of shelves and cash registers. It will need many months of work to update the inside.

3. Toys R Us, Fresno: Big Lots new concept moved into this space at 3520 W. Shaw Ave. months ago. The new space is larger and much more open and spacious.

Unlike some of the existing stores with tall shelves and cramped aisles, the new store is more spread out and open, with shorter shelves that allow you to better see across the store.

Front and center inside the store is a furniture department laid out to look like a traditional furniture store. It sells couches (some full-sized couches priced at $300), along with sectionals and love sets, recliners, beds and mattress sets.

It also has a sizable patio furniture section.

In addition to the discounted toys, towels, bedding and food Big Lots is known for, it also has home decor. An appliance section sells kitchen appliances and vacuums.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.
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