An innovative new concept has launched in several Canadian shopping centres, and it's driving traffic to malls by being an attraction to kids. Named Zazazoo, the plush animal ride rental company is looking to expand Canada-wide through franchising, after launching its first location near Ottawa in November of 2015.
Founded by Melanie Lafreniere, Zazazoo rents out large stuffed animals that can be ridden throughout enclosed shopping malls. She explained how the concept is already driving traffic to shopping centres as a new attraction. She came up with the idea after recognizing that some children might not be keen on visiting the local mall, which in turn may limit parent's shopping capabilities.
Ms. Lafreniere says that she'd ideally like to be operating in 12 Canadian shopping centres by the end of 2016. Zazazoo launched at Les Promenades Gatineau last November and has since expanded to four locations, including Carlingwood Mall and St. Laurent Centre in Ottawa, and at Galeries de Sources in suburban Montreal. More locations are scheduled to open in the next few months, including at Ottawa's popular Bayshore Shopping Centre.
It's not just children who ride Zazazoo's stuffed animals, however. Some adults are enjoying the attraction as well and according to Ms. Lafreniere, one only has to be 'young at heart'. She explained how Zazazoo brings smiles to people's faces, young and old, adding a new element of positivity and fun to existing Canadian shopping centres -- living up to its slogan 'Made for Kids, Enjoyed by All'.
*All photos by Zazazoo.