No way, did you know Toys R Us started in Washington DC? It began as a baby furniture retailer in Adams Morgan [in fact, the original store is now a blues bar called Madam's Organ. All the Baby Boomers raised in cribs from TRU would be so proud.]
Only it wasn't called Toys R Us at first. It was Children's Supermart. When Bill Bederman and Charles Lazarus decided to open a Children's Supermart Toys branch in Rockville, Maryland, they wanted a classy sign--until they found out how much it'd cost per letter.
So they needed a shorter name, and that's when their signmaker, Gunther Kilsheimer, a German graphic designer named who'd fled the Nazis with his wife and infant daughter, created the backwards R Toys "Я" Us logo we all know and, uh, know.
Anyway, Kilsheimer passed away August 8 at the age of 86. His son still runs the DC sign company he founded, Art Display Co.
Gunther Kilsheimer, Pioneer in Graphic Arts Passes Away at Age 86 [artdisplayco via designobserver]