FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- The jungle is coming to the city -- or at least closer to it.
Jungle Jim's International Market, the 285,000-square-foot grocery store here known for its unique product selection and creative presentations, said it would open a second location in Oakley, Ohio, just east of Cincinnati.
Phill Adams, director of development for Jungle Jim's, told SN the new location will help the retailer extend its drawing power and shopper frequency by being nearer to major transportation arteries. The new location is around 20 miles away from the original, which is located north of the city.
"By putting this one in a more densely populated area, we're going to hit customers who would frequently shop us, but feel our current location is a pain to get to," said Adams, adding that the Fairfield site is nearly five miles from the nearest highway.
The new store, which will be 75,000 square feet, is set to open in June 2007 in a 100-year-old factory building. It will anchor The Millworks, a 1.3-million-square-foot mixed-use center under development at a former industrial site. Parts of the Millworks project already completed include retail anchors Meijer, Target, Circuit City and Sam's Club. The site will also include a hotel, office space and parkland in what developer Brandt Retail Group described as Cincinnati's only urban district shopping center.
"We think it's great that other anchors are already there because they're already drawing people to this complex," Adams said, "and we're not really in competition with them. Our focus is more specialty foods, international foods and perishables."
In more than 30 years at its current location, Jungle Jim's has grown from a 4,200-square-foot fruit stand founded by Jim Bonamino to a sprawling four-acre complex known for its whimsical design flourishes and wide product selection that draw shoppers from as far away as Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Lexington and Louisville, Ky. The new store will aim more toward becoming a regular stop for local shoppers, but also keeping the original store's spirit for the unusual, Adams said.
"We've looked on and off over the years for another building, and for one reason or another, they didn't work out," Adams said. "The biggest reason we went to this project was the building itself. It's not a typical box that a grocery store would open in. It has a lot of character and a lot of issues that will be difficult to work with, but it's going to be unique."
The building is part of the historic Cincinnati Milicron industrial colony, which was one of the nation's first industrial parks. The building that Jungle Jim's will occupy -- which currently houses Kirk & Blum, a manufacturer of industrial heating and air conditioning units -- includes a 25-ton crane that tenants will leave behind. Adams said the crane will remain a part of the design of the new store, perhaps as a moving billboard.
"We do a lot of animatronics and theater in this [original] store, but the building itself is just a metal box," Adams explained. "We're probably going to put more emphasis on the building itself at the new location. We'll hang historic photos of the factory and bring up the issues that were inside the building. We want people to understand what that building was about."