Safaritopia buys Westside headquarters

The educational toy manufacturer is based in Westside Industrial Park and will open a store in Nocatee.

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Educational toy manufacturer and distributor Safari Programs Inc., through an associated company, paid $8.75 million June 25 to buy the Westside Industrial Park warehouse it has been leasing.

Safaritopia LLC bought the 130,688-square-foot building on 7.15 acres, plus some vacant land, at 8010 Westside Industrial Drive. 

Pattillo Industrial Real Estate and Stone Mountain Industrial Park Inc. sold the structure, built in 1992, through WS8010 LLC.

Synovus Bank financed the deal for almost $7.41 million, records show.

The educational toy manufacturer and distributor announced plans July 9 to open its first retail store, ToyTopia, in the Nocatee Town Center in St. Johns County. 

The release said ToyTopia will be a special extension of Safari Ltd., whose goal is to teach kids about the natural world and encourage conservation through play.

It said the store will encourage children to explore and interact with toys off the shelves.

Nocatee residents Alexandre Pariente, CEO, and Christina Pariente, president, lead Safari Programs. 

Alexandre Pariente is the manager of Safaritopia LLC.

“The goal is to become the Cheers of toy stores for Nocatee,” Christina Pariente said in the news release. 

“Toy stores should be fun. We want to be the place families go to relax and let their kids’ imaginations run wild.”

Safari moved its headquarters to Westside Industrial Park in August 2020 from Miami Lakes.

The family-owned company says it has been making educational figurines for nearly 40 years. 

The store will carry the company’s Toys That Teach line of nontoxic animal, dinosaur and mythical creature toys. It also will offer BiOBUDDi plant-based building blocks and Folkmanis plush puppets along with other brands.

“Jacksonville is a growing city and we want to be part of that growth. There are more opportunities for staff and warehouse space as we grow our business as well,” Christina Pariente said by email July 20, 2020.

“This will allow us to expand our distribution business quite a bit. We are a family owned and operated company and we feel Jacksonville is more in line with our business and family goals,” said Pariente, whose husband, Alexandre, is the grandson of the founders.

The Safari Programs website says it has been creating “Toys that Teach” for more than 30 years and three generations.

Christina Pariente said the company was moving to Jacksonville for growth opportunities with labor and warehouse space. 

Safari Programs and Safari Ltd. are not related to The Safariland Group, the Jacksonville-based provider of safety and survivability products.