Toy Story Inspiration Jeffrey's Toys Closes After 86 Years, Blaming San Francisco's Crime Crisis

Toy Story Inspiration Jeffrey’s Toys Closes After 86 Years, Blaming San Francisco’s Crime Crisis

San Francisco’s beloved Jeffrey’s Toys, a brick-and-mortar landmark that inspired Pixar’s Toy Story franchise, is shutting its doors for good after 86 years. The closure, effective February 2024, marks a somber end for a store that witnessed generations of children ignite their imaginations amidst aisles of wonder.

While the pandemic initially dealt a blow, Jeffrey’s Toys faced a multitude of hurdles. Soaring rent, coupled with declining consumer spending and the general retail downturn, squeezed the family-run business. However, the most concerning factor was San Francisco’s rampant crime plaguing downtown.

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The store’s attorney, Ken Sterling, pointed fingers at the city’s leadership and the Downtown Association for failing to curb the escalating violence. He stated, “The perils and violence of the downtown environment” significantly contributed to the decision. A violent incident involving an employee being nearly stabbed further underscored the safety concerns.

Legacy of Play and Inspiration

Founded in 1938 by the Luhn family, Jeffrey’s Toys wasn’t just a store; it was a portal to childhood dreams. Matthew Luhn, co-owner and son of a Pixar story artist, shared how the store served as a reference point for the Toy Story films. He reminisced, “We would have my dad come to give us ideas… Jeffrey’s Toys was always our go-to for inspiration.”

The toy stores’ original founders were Morton and Birdie Luhn. JEFFREY’S TOYS

Exodus of Businesses

Jeffrey’s Toys joins a growing exodus of retailers fleeing San Francisco’s crime epidemic. Over 40 stores have closed downtown since 2020, including big names like Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Nordstrom. The city’s once vibrant retail scene is withering under the pressure of unchecked crime and homelessness.

The closure of Jeffrey’s Toys serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of San Francisco’s ongoing struggles. It’s a story not just about a beloved toy store, but about a community grappling with complex challenges that threaten its very fabric.

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