View Full Version : OKC Zoo to open store at Penn Square

07-29-2004, 12:21 AM
Penn Square is currently looking for tenants to fill two remaining spaces at the mall. Filling these two spaces will give the mall 100% occupancy, a first for the mall in sometime, although the mall does have a waiting list.

Anyways, in the meantime, mall managemen has negotiated a short term lease to fill one of those spaces with a new store operated by the OKC Zoo. The store will sell zoo type merchandise and educational material for children. I thought this was interesting, especially since we've been discussing the zoo lately.
Here's the article:

Zoo plans to open educational merchandise store in mall
July 26, 2004

By Karen Klinka
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Zoo officials plan to open a store during November and December at Penn Square Mall following approval by the Oklahoma City Zoo Trust this week.

Zoo officials anticipate store sales will bring in an estimated $80,000 to $150,000 in net revenues for the two-month period.

Karen Jones, visitor services manager, said the zoo store would stock educational merchandise geared primarily toward children.

"For the most part, we plan to have merchandise that's different from what other stores in the mall sell," Jones said. "The products we plan to carry are ones designed to market the zoo, its mission, and to help educate children about animals, nature and conservation."

The zoo's education department staff members will present free puppet shows, animal demonstrations and story times each week during the two months the store will be open, Jones said.

Mark Campbell, the zoo's director of business services, said the zoo will lease a 3,100-square-foot space on the mall's northeast side from Oct. 1 through Jan. 15. The rent will be $3,500 per month.

Zoo officials will set up the store during October, open the store Nov. 1 and close it the first week of January, Campbell said.

Campbell said he has estimated gross sales of about $250,000 to $500,000, and labor costs at about $26,500 for the three-month period.

Zoo officials said profits generated by the store should be exempt from business income taxes."

07-29-2004, 12:50 AM
That is a great idea because it provides a potential revenue stream for the zoo and it provides free advertising. Plus, it gives another retail outlet for people that have visited the zoo recently. You probably would visit the zoo twice a year, but the outlet store would be available each time you went shopping.

I think a Bricktown retail outlet or somewhere else downtown would be nice as well.

07-29-2004, 01:06 AM
Too bad this wasn't a long term idea! I think a zoo outlet store in the mall would be great! A Bricktown location would be even cooler though.

Anyways, this is benefitting both the zoo and the mall. It's giving the zoo needed advertising and additional revenue. At the same time it's giving the mall rent while it's looking for a more long term tenant for the space. Afterall, that's why most malls do short term leases continue the cash flow while they're looking for a permanent tenant for the space. I can't think of a better mall to put this than Penn Square....afterall, Penn Square now is home to one of the state's welcome centers they call Frontier Country Market Place. There you can get tons of tourist brochures jsut as at any state welcome center. It's located at Customer Service.

07-29-2004, 03:57 PM
Besides that, it's a local retailer; our discretionary dollars will stay here (OKC government operation, no less), and we'll catch some visitor dollars as well. It's a unique store no other mall has. I can't wait to see what the interior will look like. Jaguar prints, anyone?

07-29-2004, 10:34 PM
I hope they decide to have a more permanent presence at Penn Sq and/or downtown. Especially if they could continue at the current rate (just about $1.00 per Sq ft/month). A true bargain for the zoo and city!

And like you said, Patrick and Floater, all three parties win. City - new sales revenue and advertising for a govt sponsored entity, Zoo - new core revenue and advertising, Penn Sq - absorbsion of space with some additional revenue (hey, it is better than empty!) plus potentially additional customers or repeat customers.

This is why I wish it would become a permanent presence. Another great location for a zoo kiosk or small retail outlet is Will Rogers World Airport!!!!

We have the THIRD BEST ZOO in the nation, and it is one of our top attractions; so we should let it be known to our visitors at our best medium for advertisement/city pride - our airport. Especially since WRWA is being reinvented more or less from the ground up.

If not a sole outlet at the airport, we should have an OKC store which has merchandise from and information about our major attractions. That, combined with a downtown presence and perhaps a continued presence at Penn (mainly because of the OK Frontier visitors centre) - we could tap all points-of-entry where visitors get info about our city!

Crossroads may be another location, might breath new life into the centre. Who knows?

07-29-2004, 11:27 PM
Unfortunately the store will only be there for 2 months. But maybe if the zoo finds success with the store, they could possibly look at a longer term lease. The zoo is getting quite a bargain on the space! I'm sure mall management is trying to help the zoo out though! That's cool! Anyways, since it will only be there for two months, the zoo won't put any money into changing the space. They'll just be using the space as is! Generally, short term leasers don't alter the appearance of the space too much. Maybe if they find success and the mall can talk them into a long term lease, they could come up with a cool design for a new store in the mall.

Anyways, the zoo store will be opening in the old Kabets location (currently a short term lease to Fashion Sport) next to JC Penney.

07-31-2004, 10:10 AM
If the Zoo store becomes permanant, we may be copying several cities across the country in stores with local attraction items. Dallas has (I think)Texas Lonestar, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minneosta has three or four stores dedicated to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. I have seen similar stores in malls all over the United States.

Exception to my rule of being original and not cpoying someone else.

08-03-2004, 01:45 AM
I think this store would be a little different though because it would be supporting and showing off our zoo, rather than just our city! Regardless, it would be a cool attraction. With it only being temporary, there won't be much of an atmosphere, as they'll just be using the atmosphere of the old Kabet's store.......temporary stores don't put money into changing the store's appearance! But, maybe with a lot of success the zoo might consider such a store.

I think it would be unique, because I've never seen a zoo have a permanent store in a local mall.