The news of the opening in Milan of the famous American toymaker F.A.O. Schwarz’s store has bounced on many sites, with children, young and old people all lined up with great curiosity, neatly waiting for their turn to enter. On the other side of the street, Giochi Preziosi opens its first flagship store in Piazza Duomo in Milan.
We visited the two stores: here are the results of our store checks.
Milan, November 2021, close to or within the fourth wave, the covid does not give up. Yet we are returning to normal life, we want to get excited and it does not matter if we are forced to “queue” and wear a mask to enter in a shop.
The New York mega-store of toys, with a space of over 600 square meters spread over three floors, is housed in an ancient building in via Orefici 15, in the nearby of Piazza Cordusio, in the heart of Milan, close to Starbucks and Uniqlo stores.
F.A.O. Schwarz decides to land in Italy, with the first flagship store in continental Europe, thanks to the agreement between the Californian ThreeSixty and Prénatal Retail Group, choosing the Italian shopping capital: Milan.
Experiential space, not a toy store
At a time when all the 15 Disney Stores in Italy are closing, to focus mainly on online sales, there are those who go against the trend and bring the consumer back to a physical store. Will it be a good choice? Judging by the flow of entries, it would seem. What is special about this store? In reality, it is more than just a toy store.
Customers are welcomed by the iconic Clock Tower which, at the stroke of every hour, is activated by spreading, instead of the classic chimes, the notes of the song F.A.O. Schwarz. At the base of the Tower, a mechanical “labyrinth” awaits the little ones for fun challenges. All around the world of F.A.O. Schwarz: soft toys of all sizes and many educational and creative toys.
Product demonstrations and customizations are the keywords of the foreground. It is possible to find a mechanic with his workshop to customize all the components of the Majorette brand racing cars. And, again, a Sharper Image space with demos of radio-controlled cars and animals and drones, a Gravitrax Ravensburger mega track with demonstrator and game and Discovery #Mindblown scientific games tables with demonstrations.
On the -1 floor, the attraction is certainly the iconic Dance-on-Piano in extra large dimensions to have fun dancing to the music on the mega black and white keys (remember “Big”?). The wonder continues with the presence of entertainers who involve the public with real magic shows, for an immersive experience full of amazement. And in a wizarding world could Harry Potter be missing? Fans of the most famous wizard in the world can find a corner dedicated to their favorite in a setting that re-proposes the train to Hogwarts and the legendary platform 9 ¾ (an absolute exclusive in Milan).
Visit the F.A.O. Schwarz.
The Italian answer to F.A.O. Schwarz
Giochi Preziosi has chosen Piazza Duomo in Milan for its first single-brand store. The commercial space exceeds 600 square meters, divided over two floors, designed by the Milanese studio 23 Bassi. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by the reproduction of Tram 19 in Milan and the link with the Lombard capital is underlined by the reproductions of panoramic views of the city throughout the store and by the splendid view of the window frames from which you can admire the Duomo. According to the company, this first opening should be followed by others in the rest of Italy, with an investment of 25 million. After the inauguration in Piazza Duomo, the next step of this expansion would include a second flagship store also in Milan, in Corso Buenos Aires. There is also talk of the development of a sales network of 40 structures in the rest of Italy.
Inside you will find all the products of the Giochi Preziosi world, divided into various corners dedicated to the different brands. There is no shortage of licensed game proposals including the products of Topo Gigio, Bing, Looney Tunes, Gormiti, Power Players, Hot Wheels, Ben 10, Fireman Sam, Trudi, PJ Masks, Peppa Pig, Barbapapa and much more.