Retail Management Class Gains International Experience at Jungle Jim’s

October 30, 2018

Students See Food Variety That’s ‘Second to None’

If the United States is the great melting pot or tossed salad of ethnicities, cultures and nationalities, then Jungle Jim’s International Market is its kitchen and pantry.

PICTURED: Junior J.C. Brewer (LEFT) and sophomore Ian Molfenter examine the impressive hot sauce aisle at Jungle Jim’s.

Wilmington College students in Susan Lucas’ Retail Management class literally took a trip around the world during a visit to Cincinnati’s international market in Eastgate earlier this month.

Lucas, an assistant professor of marketing, said the field trip was designed to expose her students to a hands-on learning opportunity in the world of retail and broaden their global awareness.

“This trip gave my students the opportunity to see depth and breadth of product lines first-hand in an environment that also opened their eyes to cultural differences,” she said, adding that graduates in marketing, finance, management and accounting are in high demand by the nation’s top retailers.

That day’s classroom was a visual, aural and culinary delight as Jungle Jim’s amusement park–like atmosphere captured the students’ imagination — much as it makes a lasting impression on its everyday shoppers.

Behind the entertaining façade of a NASCAR racer suspended on the wall, an old fire engine and entrances to restrooms that look like port-a-johns, the experience gave agriculture major Anna Buck a greater insight into the diversity of food markets in America.

“In agriculture, we are so much corn and soybeans,” said the senior from West Liberty. “You start to realize the production side of things is so much bigger than what we’re used to in a small, rural community.”

Buck also appreciated the tour presented by Jungle Jim’s employees, who expertly guided the class from the Hispanic foods section to the Asian area where she sampled cream-filled crackers to the massive candy section — “They definitely rope in the kids there!” she added. Buck was especially enthralled with the shelves featuring a collection of dozens of hot sauces.

“Being a lover of hot sauce, it was so interesting seeing so many varieties,” she said. Jungle Jim’s regularly features a “Hot Sauce-of –the-Month.”

Also, Buck saw how “friendly and knowledgeable” employees, in a very subtle way, furthered Jungle Jim’s brand as a modern business interested in sustainability by mentioning its shopping carts are made from recycled plastic bottles.

“This field trip gave us a unique insight into retail,” she said. “You can bring speakers into the class, but it’s a lot better to experience a place like Jungle Jim’s in person. I learned more about how the business is run behind the scenes.”