FAO Schwarz coming to Towson Town Center

August 04, 1994|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,Sun Staff Writer

Swanky toy merchant FAO Schwarz, home of the talking dinosaur and the walk-upon piano, said it will open its only Maryland store in October in Towson Town Center.

Occupying 11,000 square feet of space, the Towson outlet is part of a new strategy by Schwarz to operate stores in indoor malls. Its arrival burnishes Towson Town Center's upscale status.

Schwarz runs 30 stores nationwide, including large, flagship stores in New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco and five "mall flagship" stores similar to the one planned for Towson. The rest are smaller, "branch" stores, the nearest of which is in Washington's Georgetown section.

The mall-store concept "represents the future of FAO Schwarz," said John Eyler, the company's president and chief executive officer.

The company, known for upscale toys and high-tech gadgets, plans to open several more mall flagship stores later this year, including at least one in the Washington area, a spokeswoman said.

FAO Schwarz traces its roots to a Baltimore company founded by four brothers in 1862 called the Schwarz Toy Bazaar, the company said. One brother, Frederick August Otto Schwarz, later moved to New York and set up the firm that became known as FAO Schwarz.

The company was purchased in 1990 and is operated by a large Dutch retailer, Koninklijke Bijenkorf Beheer. Schwarz is KBB's only American holding, a spokeswoman said.

The Towson Town store will be on the mall's fourth level, next to Hecht's.

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