- Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer
Jungle Jim’s is embarking on three new construction projects, one of which would allow the popular local grocer to expand its festival footprint.
The international market, which has locations in Fairfield and Eastgate, is set to revamp the Snake House just outside its Fairfield site into a more dedicated entertainment venue for events, according to Jared Bowers, a spokesman for the business.
“Right now we host bits and pieces of festivals out there, or we host events surrounding that facility, but we’re going to be retrofitting it and putting a lot of new stuff in there to make it a kind of outdoor seating area, kind of a cool hang-out spot,” he said.
Jungle Jim’s is also constructing a new building to house the existing extra monorail trains now stored inside the Snake House, with the goal of upgrading them, then installing them on the monorail that connects the Snake House to the Oscar Event Center.
“We would essentially expand the footprint of some of our festivals and events,” Bowers said. “We’d have stuff going on inside and outside at the same time.”
There’s no set start date for the Snake House revamp, he said.
The Fairfield store is also knocking down walls and rearranging shelves in the natural and supplement department to pave the way for a bar-like area to serve kombucha, a health-conscious variety of fermented green or black tea drinks.
“It’s all first-fermentation kombucha, which is actually … easier to drink,” Bowers said. “For people who’ve maybe had kombucha out of bottles and didn’t really care for it, the flavor may have been off-putting or it just might have been a little too much for them, first-fermentation-from-the-draft kombucha is a completely different experience.”
The grocer is working with Lockland-based Fab Ferments to provide the beverage on tap for the 21-and-older kombucha bar.
“We feel like more people are getting into that, so if we’re one of the first to really commercially offer it, especially with someone whose respected, like Fab Ferments, we can be ahead of the curve and say ‘Yeah, kombucha’s legit, this is real, we’re into it, you guys should try it out,’ ” Bowers said.
“Sometimes we just like that off-the-wall stuff and we want to kind of take it and run with it and see what happens,” he said.
The kombucha bar at the Fairfield location should be ready in about one month, Bowers said. There’s not yet a timeline for a similar bar to be constructed at the Eastgate location.
Jungle Jim’s also plans to “freshen up” the ponds outside its entrance, according to Phill Adams, the store’s director of development.
“We haven’t done work on the pond in six to eight years, so we’re down to the painting mode,” he said. “Hopefully it will look like you remember here shortly.”
In addition to those add-ons, the massive building being erected near the Jungle Jim’s parking lot is a two-story Planet Fitness, Adams said.
Jungle Jim’s Eastgate location is set to get a Jungle Experience Center — a state-of-the-art entertainment/education center that will allow for tasting sessions, Bowers said.
It also can be offered as a meeting space or for parties, he said.
There’s no timeline for the Eastgate project yet.