Children's edutainment trumps retail

Due to its growing attendance, Totter's Otterville, a children's edutainment center in the Johnny's Toys retail store, is expanding to take over the majority of the retail toy store space.

Back in 2000, Johnny’s Toys, a Kentucky-based, family-owned, 60-year-old chain 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 completed full designs and specified all equipment for a new 10,000 SF indoor, 20,000 SF outdoor children's edutainment center branded as Totter's Otterville that opened in the new store in late 2001.

Over the years, Totter’s Otterville’s business has grown and the children’s edutainment center has been 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. Over the past two years the weak economy has decreased the store’s retail sales by 15% while the children’s edutainment center’s attendance has increased 20% annually. So the owners have 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 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.