Jungle Jim's International Market
Jungle Jim's International Market, formerly Jungle Jim's Farmer's Market, is a large supermarket in Fairfield, Ohio, with a satellite location in Union Township, Clermont County, both near Cincinnati. The main location has been described as a theme park of food. Founded in 1971 by "Jungle" Jim Bonaminio, the store started as a small produce stand, and has grown to over 180,000 items, about 60,000 which are international items, and over 300,000 square feet (6½ acres or 26,000 square meters) of floorspace. Jungle Jim's is notable for one of the largest wine collections in the United States, live seafood tanks, and an in-store cooking school. Each week, the store is visited by approximately 82,000 shoppers, whom Bonaminio calls "foodies". Many of the specialty foods in the store's Asian and European departments are difficult to find elsewhere in the Greater Cincinnati area, and customers have been known to drive from other cities for the store's wide variety of food.
Jungle Jim's resembles a theme park due to the unusual displays throughout the store. At the entrance, animal replicas are accompanied by occasional roars and the splashing of a miniature waterfall in the background. Inside are several animatronic displays, such as a lion that sings Elvis Presley songs at regular intervals and a "rock band" composed of General Mills cereal mascots. Several of the animatronics, such as the lion, a human character named Pedro, and a trio of black birds, are former Pizza Time Theatre animatronics (indeed, the lion character was known as "The King" at PTT, and served the same purpose of singing Elvis songs). The miniature storefronts in Jungle Jim's' European section represent the architectural styles of various countries, and the Mexican section is covered by what appears to be the adobe façade and wooden frame of a cantina. Subtle humor is injected into many parts of the store, such as the trashcans once labeled "Jungle Junk," the "Adult Oriented Hot Sauces" section, and the restroom entrances disguised as Rumpke portable toilets. In 2007, the restrooms won the Cintas Best Restroom in America contest. Before Jungle Jim's doubled in size in the late 1990s, the store featured flags from many countries that were positioned throughout the store and automatically waved back and forth, to give it an "international" feel.
With its latest expansion, Jungle Jim's has added a strip mall on one side, including Starbucks, Hallmark, and CiCi's Pizza locations. Running outside is a reconditioned Lion Country Safari Monorail from the former Wild Animal Habitat at Kings Island. The Oscar Event Center, a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m²) space for wine tastings and concerts alike, opened in 2007. On April 1, 2005, Bonaminio signed a letter of intent to open a second, smaller location closer to Cincinnati, but by April 2007, the project was canceled due to a lack of progress at the site. On September 25, 2012, Jungle Jim's opened a second location at the former bigg's Place Mall in Eastgate.
- Dirr, Jacob (2007-01-13). "Welcome to the Jungle". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
- "Supermarket Wars: Stores Use Dancing Animals, Size to Battle for Your Dollars". Good Morning America. ABC News. 2007-01-13. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
- Bianco, Anthony (2005-04-18). "The Wizard Of Odd". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Archived from the original on 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
- Sangiacomo, Michael (2004-11-03). "Jungle Jim’s exotic journey" (PDF). The Plain Dealer. Advance Publications. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2007-01-13.
- Benson, Lisa (2010-10-08). "Jungle Jim's International Market to open new store". Cincinnati Business Courier. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jungle Jim's International Market.|
- Jungle Jim's International Market
- The Oscar Event Center
- Photos of Jungle Jim's at Flickr
- on YouTube – founder Jim Bonaminio discusses the store's history for WCET-TV