From Grape to Admark
A Zoobilee Journey


So, it is bright and early on a Saturday morning.  Tonight is one of Wichita’s Largest fundraisers- Zoobilee.  I have been to this event so many times I’ve lost count. But as I look towards tonight the one night that I keep thinking about is the first time I attended this event.  It was about 20 years ago and I was bartending at the Grape. The year prior the bar manager had gone, I was working that Saturday night and when she came in she was angry.  It was hot, it was humid, and possibly the worst night of her life. Honestly, thinking about her dramatic entrance into the bar, hair everywhere it was quite the scene. My good friend and fellow bartender Deb and I still laugh about it.  But when the opportunity came around the following year for me to attend, I jumped at it. I had never been, and I was excited. I remember sitting in college and listening to girls in my sorority talking about going. The fancy dresses the fun times.  I dressed in my best, a light blue sweater tank and black capris. We took 3 trays of tea sandwiches. Meat and cheese on a mini bun. Nothing fancy. I worked the table with my boyfriend, and boss Jim Bachman. We waved large palms over the sandwiches to keep the flies at bay.  Jim didn’t bring any entrees that needed to be restocked. The point was to get rid of the food and go party after. It was a great plan. The sandwiches went quickly and we were left to stroll around. Back then ladies were wearing short sequin dresses. There was room to walk and although it rained a little, we had a great time.  Once it was over we packed up and went back the Grape to return the catering items and stick around for a drink.

As cliche as it sounds, it seems like yesterday but in reality, it was a very long time ago, before my kids, before my business, before I was married. Step into now, getting ready for tonight is bittersweet and brings a ton of emotion.  You see 2.5 years ago Advantage Marketing became the agency of record for the Sedgwick County Zoo. And it has been a great account to represent but the end of this year will be our last. I am thankful for the opportunity we had to work with such a great institution, my team worked tirelessly on their marketing efforts and did a great job. Our designers Shane and Jessie won an award for their great design on the SCZ Annual report.  Tessa and I were able to provide more value and trade for the Zoo than in previous years and last year was a record-breaker in Zoobilee sales. All that being said, I am also proud of the progress I have made in my life. My boyfriend from 20 years ago is my husband now and we have a great little family. So while it is a little sad, I see the opportunity. I know we can take what we have done and build on it for the next big account.  You see there is an opportunity in everything, you just have to look for it. I know a particular bartender did, so tonight I am going to party with then-boyfriend, Jeremy, who is now my hubby, my good friends from 20 years ago, Deb and Alicia as well as the friends I have met along the way and bask in the efforts of an awesome team and look to the future for even bigger things coming our way.

-Cori K.