About FAO Schwarz
Since 1862, FAO Schwarz® has been synonymous with quality and innovation, offering an unparalleled selection of extraordinary toys that have enchanted generations of children. In 2012, FAO Schwarz celebrated its 150th anniversary as one of the most cherished brands in the world with in-store events, commemorative product offerings and an enhanced website that together showcased the storied history of this beloved retailer.
In 1862, Frederick August Otto Schwarz and his two brothers from Westphalia, Germany founded FAO Schwarz, opening their first toy retailing business, “Toy Bazaar,” in Baltimore, Maryland. Following the success of “Toy Bazaar,” Frederick moved to New York City in 1870 where he opened “Schwarz Brothers – Importers,” while his brothers operated separate toy stores in Baltimore and Boston. The FAO Schwarz New York location was destined to dominate the family business. Over the next hundred years, FAO Schwarz expanded its presence and grew its international reputation through beautiful catalogs and an exciting website, FAO.com.
Today, FAO Schwarz is not only the oldest toy store in the United States, but one of the oldest retail establishments of any kind. It has evolved from a toy store to a must-see tourist destination, and continues to be well-known for high-quality merchandise and timeless treasures. Throughout its more than 150 years, FAO Schwarz has carried on the tradition of serving as a stage to introduce new and exciting products to consumers.
A pop culture icon for generations, the flagship store in New York City draws thousands of visitors each year who come to witness the magic and wonder of FAO Schwarz. Through the ages, it has been the subject of classic depictions of kids and kids-at-heart, including a 1930s cartoon in The New Yorker and starring roles in countless major motion pictures – perhaps none more renowned than BIG in 1988, in which actors Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia dance on the store’s giant foot piano. Most recently, in 2011, the store was prominently featured in the first live action, 3D film dedicated to The Smurfs.
In 2009, FAO Schwarz was acquired by Toys“R”Us, Inc., the world’s leading dedicated toy and juvenile products retailer. Together, Toys“R”Us® and FAO Schwarz have been delighting kids for over 200 years and the combination of these two marquee brands represents an unparalleled expertise in toy retailing. While continuing to preserve the distinctiveness and integrity of FAO Schwarz, Toys“R”Us, Inc. is committed to building on its legacy and taking the brand to even greater heights.