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Jungle Jim's International Market

James Bonaminio, a.k.a, Jungle Jim.  His international market first started as a produce stand in a parking lot back in 1971. The "wizard" is just one of many costumes he wears around the store.
Susan Stone, NPR /
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James Bonaminio, a.k.a, Jungle Jim. His international market first started as a produce stand in a parking lot back in 1971. The "wizard" is just one of many costumes he wears around the store.

What do you get when you cross a grocery store, an amusement park, and the United Nations? Jungle Jim's, a soon-to-be four-acre international food emporium outside Cincinnati, Ohio. NPR's Susan Stone braved the jungle to send an audio postcard.

Fiberglass giraffes and monkeys protect the parking lot; a talking Robin Hood beckons shoppers to British delicacies, and a lion dressed like Elvis serenades the checkout line. And then there's Jungle Jim -- a.k.a. Jim Bonaminio -- dressed in a blue wizard's outfit.

Bonaminio started in the food business 30 years ago, selling tomatoes from the back of a truck. Then came the fruit stand, then a farmer's market, then a grocery store. Now, it's a tourist attraction.

There are plans for a culinary institute, restaurants and a hotel, all to be built next to the market. And a monorail will carry people between the attractions. By the time he's finished, Bonaminio says, he'll have created an "amusement park for food lovers."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Susan Stone
Susan Stone is a contributing reporter/producer for NPR based in Berlin, Germany. Before relocating to Germany for a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship in 2005, she was a producer, editor, reporter and director at NPR’s headquarters in Washington for 10 years. Most recently, Stone was a producer and director for the weekend editions of NPR's award-winning news magazine All Things Considered, where she created a signature monthly music feature for the show.

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