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Remember when there was a big brass teddy bear sitting on the corner of Boylston and Claredon Streets in the Back Bay? Are you one of those people who headed to FAO Schwarz every time you needed a baby gift – looking for that special stuffed animal, or a child’s gift – maybe the latest electronic toy? Well FAO Schwarz returned to Downtown Crossing two weeks – not as a standalone store, but as an outpost in Macy’s. What a pleasant surprise as I stepped off the down escalator in Macy’s yesterday afternoon. Right in front of me was a fabulous stuffed tiger surrounded by an array of stuffed animals of the kind that FAO has always been known for. I couldn’t help but go over and give him a big hug.

FAO closed it’s Boston store several years ago when it went through bankruptcy and restructuring. The only FAO stores still standing are the New York Las Vegas Flagship stores. When FAO was ready to expand again, it tested the boutique in Macy’s concept by opening a 5200 sq ft store in Macy’s Chicago State Street store in November 2007. Then in May 2008 FAO Schwarz and Macy’s signed announced that FAO Schwarz would be opening FAO-operated toy stores in up to 275 Macy’s stores this fall, with expansion plans over the next two years bringing the total to 685 stores. Here in Massachusetts you’ll find FAO Schwarz boutiques in the Macy’s Natick and North Shore Mall stores in addition to the one in Downtown Crossing.

Before you go: The FAO Schwarz assortment at Macy’s features its own private label collection that is exclusive to Macy’s and FAO Schwarz stores in addition to the select group of brands that have made FAO famous for the last 146 years. Boutique sizes and selection vary from store to store. So if you just “gotta get a Gund” and you don’t find it in Macy’s, try going online to either the FAO Schwarz web site or the Macy’s web site. You can also go to the Gund web site, pop in your zip code and find a local retailer who stocks the huggable bears.

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