Written by Gabriell Nti, Edited by Alex Mashny
Jungle Jim’s is an international market unlike no other. Founded by Miami University alum James O. Bonaminio, Jungle Jim’s has made a name over the years for being much more than just a place to get fresh bread or a carton of eggs. Its original and primary building is in Fairfield, Ohio, only 35 minutes from the Miami campus; it has a satellite location east of Cincinnati in Eastgate. This grocery store is worth the drive for all my fellow foodies out there.
For starters, Jungle Jim’s is independently owned, which makes it easier for it to carry local foods while also adding some exotic international ones in the mix. Speaking of international, Jungle Jim carries food from over 70 countries, including Greece, Japan, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, and Jamaica. Holding over 50,000 products from all over the world helps everyone find what they need and so much more.
Though Jungle Jim’s food selection is vast, the environment is what keeps customers coming back for more. Jungle Jim’s prides itself on a unique atmosphere. Porta-Potty door entrances to restrooms. A life-size Trix bunny prop. And the biggest can of Campbell’s soup you’ve ever seen that sings to customers. Every corner is another eye turner, going as far as recreating historical scenes depending on the section of the store and what country’s food it holds. The store is broken down based on food types as well as food origins, which helps bring the world of food together under one jungle-esque roof.
“You have to be flexible to work here,” says Christy, an assistant bakery manager who has been working at Jungle Jim’s for more than 20 years in various roles. She says with the amount of items the bakery alone carries, the only thing limiting her is her imagination. She explains how certain ethnicities shop heavily on certain days of the week, but, overall, Christmas Eve and Super Bowl Saturday are hands down the busiest days of the year.
“You can’t move in the the store,” she explains as she shows us the diverse variety of goods the bakery provides.
With 82,000 customers on average coming to this store weekly, its no wonder this place makes a $4 million annual profit and creates timeless memories for any shopper who visits the jungle.