Palo Alto toy, sporting goods store to close after nearly 90 years
Kids and those who are kids at heart will be saying farewell to a neighborhood favorite, Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World.
The familiar storefront at 526 Waverley St. plans to close its doors Saturday after about nine decades in business.
“Like all good things, they come to an end,” said floor manager Andy Beugen.
The store managed to stay afloat in recent years, first by competing against the popularity of online shopping and eventually by partnering with Google Express to sell items online.
In an interview in October, toy store general manager Eric Hager said the city’s changing demographics eventually took its toll. Hager, who worked 30 years for the Hoffacker family that owned the store since its opening in 1930, said the city’s tech focus draws younger workers without families who likely do not shop for toys and families who tend to live in residential neighborhoods outside downtown.
The Hoffacker family opened the Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World in 1930. (Jacqueline Lee / Daily News)
Beugen said the brick-and-mortar store tried to relocate but couldn’t find a good fit. The historical building, designed by architect Birge Clark, went up for sale in January.
Beugen calls the store he’s worked at for 24 years the best job he’s ever had, in large part due to the customers and to the Hoffackers.
“It was nice to see all these kids grow up and become repeat customers,” Beugen said.
Since the store announced its closing, many familiar faces have dropped by to saygoodbye, Beugen said. One woman, an octogenarian, said she’s shopped at the store since she was a year old.
Ed Hoffacker Sr. opened it as a sporting goods store in 1930 while renting out an adjacent space as a hardware store and using the parcel next to that as his real estate office.
The three stores were eventually remodeled into one and brothers Ed Hoffacker II and Bernie Hoffacker co-owned the toy and sporting goods store.
Ed Hoffacker Jr. continued to operate the store after his father, Ed Hoffacker II, died in 2000.
Beugen said although the store will officially close Saturday it’ll continue to operate online until most merchandise is sold out.
The majority of items currently in the store are 40 percent off. Swimsuits are 50 percent off and special brands, such as Lego and Star Wars, are 30 percent off.