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Michigan company purchases former Toys R Us warehouse

YOUNGSTOWN — The former Toys R Us warehouse here has been sold for $15.8 million to a Troy, Mich.-based company that designs houseware products for retailers in the U.S.

HMS Mfg. Co. bought the more than 441,000-square-foot warehouse at 1500 Geoffrey Trail — the road apparently named after the toy store chain’s giraffe mascot, Geoffrey — from AG-EIP 1500 Geoffrey Trail LLC, according to the Mahoning County Auditor’s office.

Documents show HMS Mfg. Co. paid $5.8 million in cash and took out a new mortgage for the balance of $10 million.

The transaction, including 43 acres the building sits on in the industrial and warehouse area along Salt Springs Road, was recorded with the office Monday.

The building, built in 1992, and land have a tax value of $9.9 million, according to the auditor’s office.

AG-EIP acquired the property in January 2019 from Equity Industrial IV LLC, which with Billerica LLC purchased the property for $10 million in June 2000 from Tru Ohio Properties Inc., according to the auditor’s office.

According to its website, HMS Mfg. Co. was established in 1987, producing Christmas tree stands. It grew to create products in multiple home categories, including storage and organization, laundry, waste and kitchen.

It designs products under the Hefty, Home Logic and Stola brands.

In addition to the corporate office in Michigan, the company lists on its website manufacturing locations in Ohio, Arkansas, Texas and Kentucky and has an overseas office in Hong Kong.

Toys R Us closed the distribution center in August 2014, displacing about 70 employees, after determining it could more efficiently ship online orders directly to and from stores. That eliminated the need for the local warehouse.

The iconic toy store chain filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 and closed stores in Niles and Boardman. It reorganized and opened two stores in November 2019 as part of a small U.S. comeback, but has since faltered again.

A store in Houston in January and the other, in Paramus, N.J., closed Tuesday, according to Tru Kids, a new entity formed when it acquired Toys R Us’ intellectual property during its liquidation in 2018.

The company blames the closures on the viral outbreak, which has hurt customer traffic at brick-and-mortar retailers. The Toys R Us website is still in operation.

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