Mission-Matched Merchandise

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Scroll down to read more about SSA’s approach to mission related merchandise, eco-friendly practices, holistic conservation strategies, product customization, special exhibit capabilities, and customer service programs.

Mission Matched Merchandise: Our goal is to support an attraction’s mission by providing compelling and educational gifts, books, and keepsakes.

Mission Matched Merchandise: In addition to multiple conservation and eco-friendly areas within our gift shops, we can tell additional attraction stories with our thematic merchandise displays and signage.

Mission Matched Merchandise: Merchandise presented in children’s areas provides stimulation to the child as it directly related to their visit of an exhibit.

Mission Matched Merchandise: Our selection of adult and children’s books, music, and DVD’s are unique to every attraction, and focus on the stories told within the exhibits.

Eco-Friendly Merchandise

Eco-Friendly Merchandise: SSA’s Eco-Mission is to conduct our business in an environmentally responsible manner that champions the conservation efforts of our community and clients, while educating our guests, vendors and employees on ways to continuously improve.

Eco-Friendly Merchandise: When selecting merchandise, we consider the life-cycle and impact that merchandise may have on the environment.  For example, organic cotton and other natural fibers such as bamboo or hemp have less impact on our environment than synthetic blends or cotton fiber apparel.

Eco-Friendly Packaging: We are now using visitor shopping bags that are completely bio-degradable, decomposing in landfills within 16 months!

Eco-Friendly Merchandise: Our significant selection of eco-friendly items are made from sustainable resources such as jute, soy, kapok and bamboo; include educational signage; are often locally produced; and include recycled content (including elephant poo!)

Eco-Friendly Building Practices: We lead our industry in incorporating eco-friendly building practices in our gift shop designs, including sustainable elements such as boar’s hair carpeting, recycled rubber tire flooring, sunflower seed husk fixtures, and parallam composite wood furniture (Denver Zoo parallam composite wood stairs pictured here).

Holistic Conservation

Holistic Conservation: SSA partners with many programs that work toward ending the cycle of poverty, or empowering individuals and communities through the production of jewelry and accessories.  For example, this handcrafted jewelry is made by artisans in Nepal, aiding women with fair income and benefits in a safe and healthy work environment.

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Holistic Conservation: SSA champions and supports the field of conservation efforts of our clients in native ecosystems through the world. One component is working to develop holistic conservation programs that enhance livelihoods within local communities that support our client’s conservation initiatives.

Holistic Conservation: In selling Peruvian handicrafts developed by a local women’s collective group, Asociacion Lago Sagrada, we are supporting conservation initiatives by increasing the presence of frog-related handicrafts in the market, while at the same time bringing alternative and additional income to local Pervian artisans.  Through this funding opportunity, the status of amphibians in decline may be improved through the creation of an enhanced local livelihood program.


Customization: Because our buyers are based either on-site or within a close region, SSA is able to offer custom merchandise that connects directly to an attraction’s mission, specific guest appeal, and local flavor

Customization: Our buyers work as a team with our clients to manage new product development efforts.

Customization: We do not limit the number of vendors that create and supply our customized products.  We use thousands of vendors, local, regional, and national, to design the most creative and exciting customizations.

Customization: Our buyers personally meet with curators, educators, and the marketing departments of our attraction partners for design input and approval on our custom and logo products.

Customization: We use our national influence with vendors to create unique and exclusive designs for our attraction partners.

Customization: We often work with local artists to create the most unique and appealing designs.

Customization: We often create signature lines of merchandise based upon our most popular partner exhibits.


Seen in the 2009 Film, Coraline

Customization: We work directly with manufacturers, eliminating middle brokers, when necessary.  Working directly with manufacturers, prototypes are created within a few weeks from receiving the images and scientific information that we provide.

Special Exhibits

Special Exhibits: Our clients host a wide variety of special exhibits annually, with frequent turn-over.  Our teams are able to react with exhibit and mission related merchandise that is fun and educational.

Special Exhibits: We create exciting stories within our special exhibit retail environments, working directly with the exhibits team to provide authentic and educational gifts.

Special Exhibits: The depth and quality of our special exhibits merchandise appeals to all age groups and demographics.

Special Exhibits: We partner with exhibits to provide custom educational materials for guests.

Special Exhibits: Our team of designers create unique retail spaces for each special exhibit that are comfortable, convenient, and visually stimulating.

Customer Service


Customer Service Training:  EXTRAordinary Service is our customer service training program for retail employees.  It is developed to help employees understand their responsibilities when interacting with guests.


Customer Service Training:  The EXTRA program places an emphasis on creating memories by being as friendly as you can be!

Customer Service Training: Smiles are our biggest investment in ensuring repeat visitation!

Visual Merchandising Techniques

Visual Merchandising: We take great pride in creating visual dramatics for our guests.  We have developed training techniques that teach all of our team member to ensure our standards are consistent.

Visual Merchandising: “Visual drama” begins with carefully selected products.  We then create themed displays with product that represent our client’s mission, exhibits, births, conservation efforts, and special events.

Visual Merchandising: Our retail staff receives on-going training on our visual merchandising standards through one of the finest visual merchandising “text books” in our discipline.


Visual Merchandising: Visual Merchandising includes detailed product placement, inventory accuracy, lighting adjustment, signage, creating displays, and changing stores for seasons, promotions, or exhibits.

Visual Merchandising: Our goal in merchandising is to create an unparalleled shopping experience for our guests while exceeding their expectations.

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