Thursday, November 18, 2004

Shopping for the Witch or Wizard in you
If you live in or near California that is. And I know what you're saying...It's about Time for us that live in the US!!
This was written in Yahoo Financial about it:

Fans of Harry Potter are on Cloud 9. Simpsons fans are D'oh-lirious. Nightmare Before Christmas fans have kidnapped Santa Claus. A stroll down Whimsic Alley, Southern California's newest shopping and tourist attraction, leads to discoveries that will delight and enchant kids and adults alike.
Visitors feel like they've been transported to a mystical London street. Quaint shops offer everything a sophisticated or beginning wizard could want. The Phoenix Wands shop, for example, offers almost 20 styles of magic wands, crafted from exotic woods. Across the alley is Habber & Dasher, with all sorts of wizard wear. There is a Candy Store, a Book Store, and HP Wizard Store, carrying only licensed Harry Potter products and boasts of having more Harry Potter items than any store in the world.
"We wanted to create a place like no other in the world, one that immerses visitors into the wizard world once they enter our door," said Stan Goldin, one of Whimsic Alley's principals.
To achieve his vision, Goldin hired Paul-Felix Montez, a Hollywood visual set designer, to develop the interior. "Traditional space planners couldn't visualize what I had in mind," said Goldin. "Then I discovered Paul and he understood instantly. He and his team took my vision and ran with it - ultimately exceeding my wildest expectations."
What Goldin and Montez have built in Whimsic Alley is more like a theme park than a shop. "Unlike places such as Wal-Mart - or even our website - Whimsic Alley is a place that's fun to come to, whether you purchase anything or not," said Goldin. In fact, places like Wal-Mart are not realistic alternatives. Many items offered at Whimsic Alley are not offered anywhere else.
During its opening week, people came from as far away as Texas and Wyoming. "I felt giddy the whole time I was there," said Sue Epstein, one of the people who drove in to see the place. "I can't believe such a store exists. I stayed there over an hour, just chatting with the sales folks. I've never felt like chatting with the sales folks at Toys R Us." Another visitor said he wouldn't be surprised if tour buses began scheduling regular stops there.
Goldin chuckled at the notion of tour buses pulling up to the door, but does not discount the possibility that Whimsic Alley will attract tourists. He has received inquiries about a physical store from website customers throughout the world. "We'd love seeing people from all over. Having the chance to talk with fans like ourselves is what makes it all fun," said Goldin. Toward that end, Whimsic Alley hopes to offer a free meeting room at least one evening a week for book readings, fan fiction meetings, and the like.
Not all of the shops within Whimsic Alley conform to the wizard theme. One shop specializes in Nightmare Before Christmas products, influenced by the decade-old Tim Burton film. Another specializes in The Simpsons. Still another shop carries nothing but whimsical cows.
Put the words "Whimsic Alley" together and you get the word "whimsically."
Goldin explained, "We cater to people's whimsy - if you find delight in thewizard-world, we've got you covered. Same with Nightmare Before Christmas andThe Simpsons. We expect the shops within Whimsic Alley to evolve over theyears as we and our customers continue to evolve."
Whimsic Alley is located at 2717-1/2 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, California.

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