Merchandise Manager

Organization: The Chicago Zoological Society (AZA Member)
Location: Brookfield, IL, Country
Job or Internship: Job

Merchandise Manager

The Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Since opening in 1934, Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo has been a heartfelt destination for many Chicagoans. The merchandise destinations located in Brookfield Zoo support our mission while providing an opportunity for our guests to preserve a memory of their visit. As a conservation organization, shopping at Coast Gift Shop offers an eclectic assortment of treasures for guests and carries the Zoo’s largest selection of Fair Trade and eco-friendly products. Proceeds from merchandise sales help to feed and care for our animals! Stuffed Animal Kingdom Gift Shop is popular for a wide variety of fun, furry animals such as an important symbol of conservation, the Okapi. Wildlife Trading Post offers a scenic world tour of unique handcrafted gifts from jewelry, scarves, decorative items, animal masks, toys, crafts, stuffed animals, books, and more! Our guests are sure to find that special item to remember their special visit to Brookfield Zoo.

The Merchandise Manager contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by providing development and management of both short-term and long-range merchandise plans that foster revenue and profitability growth in the Merchandise Department. These responsibilities include store concept planning, product conception and development, product sourcing, and achievement of budgeted margins. The Merchandise Manager must have retail experience in a fast paced multiple-store environment. Making use of prior relevant retail experience preferably in a theme-related merchandising venue, the position requires travel to industry trade shows and meetings with vendors/manufacturer contacts to create and execute a successful merchandising vision for our locations. The Merchandise Manager requires knowledge of current merchandise trends, excellent organizational, analytical, communication, and team building skills. The position also manages direct reports.

Since Brookfield Zoo is open 365 days a year, some flexibility in scheduling during our busiest days and times of the week is preferred to allow for monitoring and analyzing ongoing sales. Due to the nature of the business, there will be occasional weekends and evenings that will be required.

The requirements of the position include:

• Bachelor's degree in Retail Management or Business Administration or equivalent combination of training and/or related experience required.

• Minimum three years comparable experience in retail product development, sourcing , negotiation, and procurement, sales and trend analysis, and retail management in a multiple-store operation. Previous retail experience in theme-related merchandising venue preferred.

• Knowledge of non-profit tax rules required. Knowledge of laws and regulations relating to product safety, importing, copyrighting, and licensing required.

• Must have effective communication skills (oral and written) and experience in preparing and making presentations.

• Leadership skills, particularly in cross-functional teams, required.

• Strong organizational, analytical, decision-making and problem-solving skills required.

• Computer proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel required. Experience using PowerPoint and other office software packages preferred. Must possess the ability to quickly learn and effectively use the Society's financial software and merchandise POS/inventory software.

• Weekends and some evenings are required. Occasional travel is required.

• Experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.

• Multi-lingual ability and Spanish fluency a plus.

• Valid driver’s license required. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois license within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state license requires for out-of-state residents.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile. Please visit our website at Please look for requisition 1025. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/V/D - Diversity candidates encouraged to apply and identify themselves.