Iconic Toy Store In San Francisco That Inspired ‘Toy Story’ Movies Shutting Down

(Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Disney)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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Jeffrey’s Toys, the toy store in San Francisco that inspired the “Toy Story” movies will soon close its doors for good at the end of February, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The “Toy Story” franchise grossed a total of $3.7 billion at the worldwide box office, according to the Numbers. Six films were theatrically released, with “Toy Story 4” being the highest-grossing film, earning over $1 billion at the box office. Despite this success, the toy store the film was based is shutting its doors mainly due to financial difficulty. The beloved institution and the city’s oldest toy store is shutting down after 86 years in business. The closure comes amid escalating concerns over the city’s crime rate and other economic pressures, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Ken Sterling, the store’s attorney, cited multiple challenges leading to the decision.

“After 75 years of gratefully serving the San Francisco community, the store will be closing next month. The store has been struggling for a number of years, due to the perils and violence of the downtown environment, inflation, the decrease in consumer spending and the demise of retail across the world,” Sterling said in a statement, according to the outlet.

“The family is saddened it has come to this and we’ve explored all other options to try and keep the business going. The leadership of the City of San Francisco and the Downtown Association have their work cut out for them on how to revitalize what was once a vibrant and fun downtown experience.” (RELATED:Actress Patricia Heaton Calls Out Disney And Pixar Over Tim Allen And The New ‘Lightyear’ Movie)

The store, which began as “Birdies Variety” in 1938 by Morton and Birdie Luhn, evolved into a toy-only retailer post-World War II and was later named Jeffrey’s Toys, according to the store’s website. It played a pivotal role in inspiring the Pixar classic “Toy Story,” with co-owner Matthew Luhn’s contributions as a story artist and writer for Pixar drawing direct inspiration from the store, SF Gate reported.

“During ‘Toy Story,’ we would have my dad come to give us ideas,” Luhn told SF Gate. “And when we did reference for almost all the ‘Toy Story’ films, we always went to Jeffrey’s Toys. My dad just closed up the store and said, ‘Just play, have fun and let me know if you need anything.'”

Despite its rich history and connection to the iconic film, Jeffrey’s Toys faced significant financial burdens, including a monthly rent nearing $20,000. “My dad and I, we’re not quitters — we just don’t come from a quitter family,” Luhn told SF Gate. “Every year we say we’ll hold on one more year and then we keep taking money out of our own retirement accounts.”