By Colleen Sparks
GSN Staff Writer
Creative minds will be able to play with color and express their individuality in a new Crayola Experience retail and adventure center that will be one of only five in the country when it opens in Chandler.
Crayola announced Oct. 30 its new business will be located near Kona Grill on the west side of Chandler Fashion Center on West Chandler Boulevard.
The “experience” part of the venue will feature about 18,000 square feet of areas in which to play with color, including a place where visitors can name and wrap crayons and put their images in coloring pages.
A retail area of about 3,000 square feet will offer the world’s biggest selection of Crayola products and hard-to-find souvenirs including plush toys, cups, color pens and T-shirts.
Only four other Crayola Experience locations exist in the country: Orlando, Florida; Bloomington, Minnesota; Plano, Texas; and Easton, Pennsylvania.
“We’ve been working with the Chandler Fashion Center for quite a bit; designing the branding, the exterior,” Victoria Lozano, senior vice-president and general manager, Crayola Attractions and Retail, said. “We’ve been really excited about making the deal happen. We’ve gotten phenomenal response from the city.”
The Crayola Experience at Chandler Fashion Center is expected to open in the summer of next year.
Crayola is a 115-year-old company widely known for its crayons and markers with over 1,500 products and technologies that help provide the basis for the 19 hands-on activities in the Crayola Experience centers.
“We’ve looked at the greater Phoenix market for quite some time,” Lozano said. “We’ve always really liked the market. It’s obviously a sizable market, lots of families, lots of kids.
“We just thought the property itself was incredibly well-located in the market, very easily accessible, very easy for parents to get to and from.”
Lozano said he’s pleased with initial reception to Crayola’s announcement, noting the number of kids who attended a press conference last week
“All in all we got great attendance and just a really very positive welcome to the mall and to the community,” she said. “Crayola Experience is more than just an attraction – it’s a dynamic and colorful place where families can come together to create, play and make memories that will last a lifetime. We really believe creativity matters but you have to experience it.
“Kids go, ‘Wow, that was really cool.’”
A popular activity will likely be the “Wrap It Up!” spot where guests can print any name they like on an iconic crayon custom label to wrap around a crayon and take home.
Visitors also may make melted wax spin-art, or drip art, to create their own textured artwork. They control the speed at which wax is melted and layer colors with a “cool texture and effect to it,” Lozano said.
People can also create personalized coloring pages. With the “Be a Star” feature, they can get their picture taken and use software to convert it into a black and white picture on a coloring page they can keep.
Another fun way to explore art is by coloring characters and scanning them into a computer in the Crayola Experience center, Lozano said. Then their images come to life, moving on a screen. For example a dragon breathes fire.
The Crayola Experience plans impressed Terri Kimble, president/CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
“Chandler has always been known for blazing new trails and with the Crayola Experience at Chandler Fashion Center, we are doing just that – this location will be one of 5 in the entire country,” Kimble said, adding:
“The Crayola Experience is a wonderful complement to our STEM and STEAM programs offered in our schools. I can see the Crayola Experience becoming an effective partner for business, education and community.”
Customers will be able to access the Crayola Experience by buying entry passes for the day or annual passes.
Lozano said the exact prices have not been finalized but it is likely it will be $15 for one-day entry, and $30.99 or $31.99 for an annual pass with unlimited visits per year. Anyone may go into the retail area of the Crayola site for free.