Wed, May 22 2013
Address: 51 Boulevard Bulgaria, Sofia
Tel: 02/ 958 03 40
Open: Mon to Sat 10am to 9pm, Sun 10am to 8pm
If I were a child, I would definitely want to spend most of my time at Jumbo. It really is the "jumbo jet" of mega-stores for kids in Sofia, part of a Greek chain that has branches in Greece and Cyprus.
A palace full of wonderful things, with an air of novelty about it, it slightly resembles Ikea in that it has plenty of goods for the home, and it's cheap. But Ikea is more focussed on grownups, while Jumbo will appeal both to children and their parents.
This store is on Boulevard Bulgaria on the way to Boyana, between the Sprider store and Billa. The first impression you get is of a mega-store similar to the kind you would see in Germany and Austria. It has an underground parking lot and, of a weekend, it is exceedingly busy with families planning to spend a few hours there, on their way to or from Sprider or Billa. But Jumbo is so massive you could easily spend the whole time there without going elsewhere. The 15 000-sq m of shopping paradise is on two floors: ground level and basement. One floor is dedicated to children, while the lower floor has everything from bedding to babywear.
On the ground floor you will find everything from stuffed toys and dolls to construction sets, puzzles, purses, make-up cases, hair-pins, bags, scarves, flip-flops, umbrellas in wild colours and much more. Nearly everything is made in China - but who cares? It's all usually cheap, light and temporary - in other words, very suitable for children.
In that respect, Jumbo slightly resembles the one lev stores - but on a larger scale and with a broader range of stock.
The lower floor is much bigger, and aimed at the serious shopper. Here you'll find everything from cosmetics to bathroom items - mirrors, pads, scissors, shoe polish, face cream and even decorative ceramic toothbrush holders - to babycare items from clothing to bibs to strollers. You'll also find a host of useful items for the home - towels, tubs, sponges, cups, mugs, pans, aprons, ladles, flasks, curtains, pillows, candles. All of it in fun, young, hip colours and styles.
And if that isn't enough there's plenty of stationery as well - notebooks, pens, pencils, bags, backpacks. For young people, there's plenty of stuff with cartoon images, everything from Barbie to Batman.
You'll also find those great magic bouncing balls, shining rods, aquarium gems, soap balloon containers, fairytale napkins, and carnival and birthday party novelties. And, if you're stuck for the best way to present that special gift for a birthday, the birth of a baby or another occasion, there is also a huge variety of gift bags and boxes.
Everything in the store has a contemporary feel, with some elements of the ethnic in colour schemes and design. And the staff are really kind.
The store is really fun to visit and a great place to while away a few hours.
Just don't be tempted to spend all your cash; you'll have such fun you might not notice you've picked up 10 items when you only intended to buy a couple! Mind you, at an average price of two to three leva each, and considering the same stuff is likely to be five times more expensive elsewhere, you'd still be getting a bargain.
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