museums&MORE Summer 2016
Kim Gefre By Zeke Jennings

Kim Gefre's biggest regret? Not getting into zoo retailing sooner. With more than a decade in retail — first at Busch Gardens and the past 10 years at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa — Gefre couldn't enjoy her job more.

Kim Gefre's biggest regret? Not getting into zoo retailing sooner. With more than a decade in retail — first at Busch Gardens and the past 10 years at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa — Gefre couldn't enjoy her job more.

Retail Director Kim Gefre
Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa, Florida

MM: What makes your store unique?

KG: Is there anything better or more unique than a zoo gift shop? At Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo we have over 1,200 animals in our collection and have park areas devoted to Asia, Africa, Australia and Florida. The theming and products in our shops reflect these animals and those areas. We also promote conservation and environmental matters by offering fair trade, handmade and recycled items. People come to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to have unforgettable natural connections. At the end of their day, our gift shop is there to extend that emotional connection long after the guest has left the zoo.

MM: What are your biggest frustrations? How do you handle them?

KG: I really don’t have any frustrations. Certainty, there are challenges. I am fortunate to have a very talented retail team, and strong support from the executive management team at the zoo. Each challenge gives us an opportunity to improve, learn and grow.

MM: How do you stay passionate about what you do?

KG: The best advice I can give anyone is that you have to love what you do. I love retail and I work at my dream job. At the zoo not only am I doing what I am passionate about but I am doing something that has meaning and purpose. As a nonprofit organization, we are there not to just support the care of all the animals in our collection but to support conservation and education efforts for species survival — and that is something to feel terrific about.

MM: What’s the one thing you wish someone would have shared with you before you started in retail?

KG: I wish someone would have told me how much fun and challenging theme park and zoo retail can be. Had I known, I would have started my retail career much earlier.

Zeke Jennings





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