Commentary and Analysis on Businesses and Commercial Real Estate In and Around Downtown St. Louis.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Downtown Needs Zhu Zhu Pets Too
The must-have toys this holiday season are Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of adorable robotic hamsters. Zhu Zhu Pets are the brainchildren of Cepia LLC, a Clayton-based firm with 15 employees.
Cepia is led by Russell Hornsby, one of the founders of Trendmasters, a toy company that was based downtown at 1015 Washington Avenue, way before Washington Avenue was cool. Thanks to strong sales of its Rumble Robots and Powerpuff Girls toy lines (among others), the firm grew to 250 employees and was generating $150 million in sales. Unfortunately, Trendmasters went out of business in 2002 after a devastating holiday season that year.
Sounds like the minds behind Cepia have a great track record of developing popular toys. If the firm can keep growing, it’s going to need new office space. And of course, the best office space and overall working environment for creative professionals like those at Cepia is found downtown.
Downtown, and Washington Avenue in particular, has improved by leaps and bounds since Trendmasters closed in 2002. Perhaps Cepia’s leadership would be willing to give downtown a second chance? I can think of several spaces that would absolutely perfect for a firm like Cepia.