Johnny's Toys, a greater Cincinnati area chain of toy stores, will feature a $1.5 million children's edutainment center in their relocated and expanded Covington, Kentucky toy store. The 9,000 square foot children's edutainment center, to be named Totter Otterville, will be part of the 45,000 square foot, retail toy store and is scheduled to open August 2001.
In 2000, Johnny's Toys, a Kentucky-based, family-owned, 60-year-old cha in of toy stores decided to relocate their Covington, Kentucky store to a new larger 45,000 square foot facility in the same town. In order to attract the higher socio-economic customers who had over the years migrated in the suburbs south of the location, they wanted to create a children's entertainment destination within the store. White Hutchinson was hired and conducted a feasibility study and then based on the research findings, completed full designs and specified all equipment for the new 12,000 SF indoor, 20,000 SF outdoor children's edutainment center branded as Totter's Otterville that opened in the new store in late 2001. It was the first children's edutainment center to ever be located in a retail store.
Over the years, Totter's Otterville's business grew and the children's edutainment center was expanded a number of times into the existing store space, including the addition of enrichment workshop classrooms, more birthday party rooms and more play areas. During late 2007 and 2008, the weak economy decreased the store's retail sales by 15% while the children's edutainment center's attendance increased 20% annually. So in 2009 the owners decided to shrink the retail area to about 7,000 square feet for only specialty toy items instead of the mass-marketed toys sold by big-box toy and discount department stores and to expand Totter's Otterville into most of the remaining store space. Areas will be added for enrichment workshops, performing arts, a sports complex including a miniature equestrian center with ponies and a nature center for conservation and nature learning.