How Scandinavian Designs Flipped the Script on a Vacant Toys ‘R Us Store

The contemporary home furnishings chain recently opened its first Pennsylvania location at a massive storefront in Cranberry that had sat empty since 2018.


Don’t let the Nordic name fool year, contemporary home furnishings chain Scandinavian Designs is making its mark across the U.S. — including the Pittsburgh market. 

Founded more than 60 years ago by Norwegian immigrant Erling Eide, Scandinavian Designs has more than 44 locations across 14 states. In July, the chain opened its first Pennsylvania location at a former Toys ‘R Us in Cranberry. 

Regional general manager Mike Souza says this is the second East Coast location for the furniture chain (the first was in Waldorf, Maryland) as the company continues to expand operations. 

“Up until five or six years ago, we were only on the West Coast; the farthest east was Chicago,” he says. “We’re trying to branch out and tap into more markets.” 


This also isn’t the first time the company has repurposed an empty Toys ‘R Us storefront. In 2017, the toy retailer filed for bankruptcy, subsequently shuttering all its U.S. stores. According to the North Bay Journal in California, Scandinavian Designs had, by 2021, opened 10 locations in former Toys R’ Us locations. That list now includes the nearly 45,000-square-foot former Toys ‘R Us in Cranberry, which had sat vacant since 2018. 

As Scandinavian Designs, the building underwent extensive renovations, including the addition of new lighting and wide-plank flooring, as well as an exterior paint job that took the building from a bright blue appropriate for attracting children, to a contemporary gray, black and white color scheme. The furniture itself is arranged in inviting tableaus.  

“I think the thing we pride ourselves in is we provide an inspirational space,” Souza says. “We want people to come in and dream with us and to have some good conversations.”

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Known for its modern furnishings with a Nordic bent, Scandinavian Designs sells living room, dining room, bedroom and outdoor furniture, as well as office furnishings and a wide assortment of accessories and décor.

“It’s quality, useful furniture with a simple, modern aesthetic,” Souza says. “A lot of our pieces are functional; they’ll have pull-out leaves or motion pieces.”

Although the Cranberry location opened in July, a grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Aug. 3.  Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

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