A beloved local toy store with locations in Elmhurst and Downers Grove was unexpectedly shuttered Dec. 30—and few are more heartbroken than owner Mike Geisen.
Geisen said he had no choice. The closing is a result of bank action pertaining to his longterm business loan, he said. His lawyer advised him not to incur any additional costs at the store, and so he closed up shop immediately.
The doors were closed and locked Dec. 30, and will remain so. Social media has been buzzing with the news of the abrupt closing. Patrons who call the stores this week will hear the following message:
"Thank you for calling My Favorite Toy store. I'm sorry, but we are closed and will not re-open. I apologize for the short notice. I had no choice in the matter."
Attempts by Patch to contact his bank went unanswered. Geisen chose not to publicly name the bank.
Many of the stores' 12,000 active customers are quite disappointed to hear the news. Geisen, whose Downers Grove shop ran for 12 years and Elmhurst location for eight, has been fielding their calls for days. Many have questions about gift cards recently issued at the store. Unfortunately, Geisen said, there's no way he can honor those cards.
Elmhurst Patch has received emails and inquiries on Facebook. Here are some of the responses to the closing on the Elmhurst Patch Facebook page:
- Greg Zerkis: "Loved that store!!! Shopped there all the time. Ugh."
- Pat Meyers Albinion: "Such a shame, they had a great selection of unique gifts."
- Katie Cox: "Best Customer Service, loved their unique gifts, have such fond memories going there. Very sad!"
- Laura Goddard Amann: "Such a shame - they were so nice and helpful and had an amazing selection. Hope they're okay."
- Marianne Cielak Boyke: "ugh!! Why do all the good businesses in Elmhurst close???"
- Simeren Silverstein: "Does anyone know how to get in touch with Aaron that worked there? He was awesome and very accommodating, even running purchases out to my car when I didn't want to get my daughter out of her car seat. I'd love to just give him a big hug."
- Laura Monaco Fischer: "Ugh! I'm so upset. I purposely shop locally so things like this won't happen. Truly will miss this place!"
"My Favorite Toy Store has become a centerpiece of our downtown merchant mix and has became a destination for all ages," the association said in a statement on its Facebook page.
"The Downtown Management Corporation exists, in part, to be advocates for our Downtown businesses. But the very nature of business, and in particular small family businesses, is that there are daily challenges—some which at times can become extreme. ... Our Village is better for having shared this time with My Favorite Toy Store."
But no one is more disappointed than Geisen.
"Hands-down the best part about the business was talking to customers, helping people find the perfect gift," he said. "People would come in, find a special gift, and walk away smiling.
"I know there will be kids running down the street ahead of their parents, and they'll pull on the door handle, and it will be locked. And that just tears me up."