Camp opens its first location in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – Step into the second floor space of the Westfield Century City Mall and Camp looks like your everyday toy store. There are shelves full of classic games like Monopoly next to piles of plush toys. But walk all the way back to the candy jars, and there’s a magic door that leads to a childlike wonderland complete with a miniaturized campervan, a camping lodge with bunk beds, and a kids’ favorite eternal: places to mess with paint and prefab. vase.
This is the concept behind the new Camp store in the Westfield Century City shopping centre, which opened its doors last weekend. The LA location is the ninth for the New York startup and the first on the West Coast as it seeks to expand its gaming reach.
“Los Angeles has been at the top of our wish list for several years,” camp founder and CEO Ben Kaufman said in a statement. A former chief marketing officer for BuzzFeed, he and his wife Nikki founded Camp to answer a question asked by most parents of young children: what should we do today?
“Families have very few places that are part of their routine where they can have fun, get away from it all, and make memories together,” said Kaufman, who opened the first camp in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood in 2018 and has since expanded with locations in New Jersey. , Massachusetts, Texas, Connecticut and now California.
The Century City space spans 7,000 square feet – largely behind a magical door accessible only to a child, caregiver, or other free spirit performing a special move to open it. A Camp “advisor” then pushes the edge of a shelf and… voila! The light dims, the music changes, and visitors are transported to an imaginary exterior with trees, grass — even a virtual pond that’s reached with a musical dock that plays sound with every step.
The first stop along the winding Hidden Area road is a small motorhome, created in partnership with peer-to-peer RV rental platform RVshare. The pint-sized camper is equipped with activity books and interactive toys, including a play canoe and picnic table.
The camping theme continues with a cabin fitted with a bunk bed, the top of which features a slide that takes kids on a Barbie-themed experience alongside. The dance hall, as the adjacent room is called, is decorated with a disco ball, a pink shag rug, glitter wallpaper that changes color with the touch of a hand and, well, of course, a pink Barbie DreamCamper.
Just like the traditional toy store that leads to it, the hidden experiential space is also a place to shop. As children ride their scooters or ‘pony cycles’ on the store’s loaner wheels, they’ll pass displays of various toys grouped by theme, from bean bag toss games to Care Bears, all of which are for sale .
Although many activities are free, some are chargeable. Kids entering the Mess Hall — a room covered in floor-to-ceiling paint splatters — can don plastic protective gear and do their best Jackson Pollock impression if their parents rush for a $35 canvas. And if they prefer to paint pre-made pottery or make their own slime, it’s possible in the spin art and slime room, where budding creatives can get crafty. Slime kits are $20 and ceramics range from $10 to $30.
There are also craft classes, magic shows, and musical performances performed by camp staff.
“Many of our counselors have a performing arts background,” said Tyler Campbell. The general manager of Camp’s new LA location is one of them. He was a daycare teacher who worked at Disneyland and also sang and played guitar.
“It’s not like you come here to Century City Mall,” he said. “You come to camp. That’s really what we hope to achieve.