Kellogg's Cereal City USA
Kellogg's Cereal City USA was a tourist attraction in the downtown area of the city of Battle Creek, Michigan (itself nicknamed "Cereal City"), open to visitors between 1998 and 2007. The attraction aimed to tell visitors the story of the Kellogg's brand, its products and contribution to the breakfast cereal industry in particular.
Opening and features
Interest in a Kellogg's-themed attraction grew after the company ceased conducting tours at its nearby production facility in 1986. Billed as a museum and designed to look like a turn-of-the-20th-century industrial factory, the attraction was opened at 171 West Michigan Avenue in May 1998. The museum cost the Heritage Center Foundation $22 million to build and outfit. Entry cost $7.95.
The museum's opening was enthusiastically welcomed by then-Michigan Governor, John Engler and was described as a "major tourist attraction" to which the "State of Michigan contributed approximately $2.8 million".
The 45,000-square-foot (4,200 m2) space featured a range of exhibits with information about the company, its history and its products. It also included a restaurant, the Red Onion Grill, modelled on and named after the original diner at the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
Visitor numbers and closure
The venture's original proponents claimed the museum would attract more than 400,000 visitors each year. In actuality, visitor numbers peaked in 1998 (the year the museum opened) at 162,000 guests. From 2000 to 2005, Cereal City attracted an average of 86,203 visitors each year. In 2006, the museum had only 75,500 visitors and it closed in January 2007. According to operators, the museum needed at least 100,000 annual visitors to remain financially viable. The city of Battle Creek was, "left with an $875,000 bill for the closed attraction" but Kellogg's itself bought the building for $2 million, wiped the debt, converted it into commercial office space and sold it the following year. Kellogg's remains the largest employer in Battle Creek.
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- Truscott, John (May 28, 1998). "Engler Welcomes Kellogg's Cereal City USA as Major Tourist Attraction for Michigan" (Press release). Office of the Governor. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- Lieberman, Al & Esgate, Patricia (2002). The Entertainment Marketing Revolution: Bringing the Moguls, the Media, and the Magic to the World. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Financial Times Press. ISBN 9780130293503. Retrieved May 28, 2013 – via Google Books.
- Fleszar, Chris (January 4, 2007). "Kellogg's Cereal City Closes It's Doors Immediately". Walker, MI: WZZM-TV. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- Rathburn, Andy (January 6, 2007). "Who Gets Cereal City's Bill?". Battle Creek Enquirer. Retrieved May 28, 2013.