Toys ‘R’ Us Owes Local Toymaker

STROUD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A toymaker from the Poconos is one of tens of thousands of people who will be hurt by the impending closure of Toys "R" Us stores.

This week, the chain announced it will close all U.S. locations. It's more than $5 billion in debt.

Toys "R" Us owes Joann Cartiglia thousands of dollars.

"I am probably at the bottom of the list," she said.

She owns The Queen's Treasures near Stroudsburg. The company makes dolls and doll accessories.

In the past, you could find The Queen's Treasures toys on the Toys "R" Us website. But when Toys "R" Us announced bankruptcy last fall, she stopped working with them. She just couldn't take the risk that they may never pay her.

"That was a hit for us. We are a small business," Cartiglia said.

Without Toys "R" Us, The Queen's Treasures lost more than 100,000 in sales during the holiday shopping season.

"It's definitely unnerving," said Melanie Monsees, The Queen's Treasures creative director.

Since then Joann hasn't replaced any employees who have left. That makes staffers like Melanie Monsees worry.

"I want to work close to home and this is a nice job," Monsees said. "You feel the impact when a big business goes out and it makes you nervous."

In addition to the Toys "R" Us shutdown, Joann is also facing increasing competition.

"Most of our business is online but it's more and more difficult because there are more and more players out there."

Cartiglia says online marketplace sellers often ship inferior products that haven't been safety tested.

"It's really poorly made."

Products made by U.S. toy manufacturers are required to have safety features and warning labels.

"It gives the consumer all the information about the product. It has warning labels. It has washing instructions. it has the fabric content. This is all required by law," Cartiglia explained.

Joann hopes consumers start to focus more on quality products that come from American businesses rather than only focusing on price.

"Know what you're buying. Don't go for the cheapest product. It's for your child."