Tuesday, March 10, 2020

[EXCLUSIVE] West Hollywood-Based Kids Empire Invading Atlanta Market

A new kind of kids play place is coming to Georgia.  Kids Empire, based in West Hollywood, California, will later this year make their entry into metro Atlanta with a franchise in Marietta.  The new indoor playground, to be located in East Cobb Station, will be 10,000 square feet and be located in suite 900, close to Roswell Road and adjacent to Williamson Brothers Bar-B-Q.   

Started by entrepreneur Haim Elbaz in 2015, the first facility opened in southern California in 2016.  By 2018, a second location had opened with growth taking off in 2019.  There are now a dozen locations open with another seven listed as coming soon, (not including Marietta), according to the Kids Empire website.  The company reportedly plans to open 40 new parks per year over the next three years.  

The premise of Kids Empire is not revolutionary - a safe, affordable and engaging space for children 12 and under - but it will likely appeal to parents looking to "burn off" their kids' energy at an indoor facility.  Elbaz brought the kids play place concept to America from France where he was General Manager of Royal Kids, a similar concept.  Central to the logo, branding and in-store experience of Kids Empire is Huggy the friendly dragon, the company's mascot.  

Kids Empire reportedly sees themselves complementing rather than competing with Chuck E. Cheese and trampoline parks.  The facility will feature ares for kids to slide, ride, climb and spin, among other activities.  Unlike other centers, where various food options are common, Kids Empire offers very little in the way of food - chips, ice cream, string cheese & apple sauce - which it says helps keep the facilities clean and safe.  In many way, Kids Empire resembles Discovery Zone, the popular 90s era kids play place that grew to more than 200 locations before going out of business in 2001.  [A new Discovery Zone opened in early February at EastGate Mall Cincinnati.]

Despite being a franchise business, the Kids Empire website indicates that pricing is consistent at all locations, a rarity in the industry given that rent, pay, and other costs can vary from city to city and state to state.  Admission is $15 per child and free for every two adults per child.  Additional adult admissions are $5.  

In East Cobb Station, Kids Empire joins fellow anchors Goodwill, Big Lots and Planet Fitness which opened in the center early last year.  

East Cobb Station, then Town & County, was one of several shopping centers purchased in late 2015 by Stream Realty Partners.  Stream acquired more than 2 million square feet of retail space from Atlanta based Mimms Enterprises and has in the years since completed various renovation projects at its new centers. ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported October 28 that German discount grocer Lidl plans to open a new store at City Center Crossing in Sandy Springs, another center included in the Mimms portfolio purchase.  

Are you excited for the planned opening of Kids Empire at East Cobb Station?  What other businesses would you like to see open in East Cobb Station?  Where else would you like to see Kids Empire open in metro Atlanta? 

Please share your thoughts below 


bsayegh said...

$15 per child isn't affordable.

Chris Topher said...

It's a great time to jump into a ball pit...

Daron said...


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