Way back before there was an internet Eric Bennett, a young penguin fanatic and recent college grad from Queens N.Y. filled out an application (on a dare) regarding the concept of an all-penguin themed pushcart at the recently opened South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan. Knowing a good idea when they saw one the Seaport jumped at the opportunity to be the home of Eric's all-penguin paraphernalia pushcart, and so on March 15th, 1985 Next Stop...South Pole opened its (pushcart) doors for the first time.
By 1986 Eric had moved his penguin operation from a push cart to a 285 square foot kiosk (pictured above) in the Seaports historic Fulton Market Building, and then a year later NSSP doubled in size to a proper shop in the Seaports new Pier 17 complex (pictured below). A year later a sister Next Stop South Pole shop opened at the Inner Harbor (Harborplace) complex in Baltimore Maryland, and 1987 also marked the launching the Next Stop South Pole's first All-Penguin Mail Order Catalog. As the years went on it became apparent to Eric that lots of people either really liked penguins or knew someone who did, and Next Stop South Pole would not be just another fly (even though penguins can't) by night operation. The penguin inventory grew from a few dozen penguins on the push cart to 300+ different waddlers, and the NSSP catalog went from a black and white copy machine handout to an 8 page color glossy with a mailing list that spanned the world.
On the day of NSSP's 10th anniversary in 1995 Eric took another unprecedented step (waddle) as he self published the first issue of The Penguin Post, an all-penguin news, information and entertainment publication with no particular parameters, that was intended for like minded penguin lovers and collectors like himself. The Penguin Post would eventually publish 22 issues over the next 6 years, garnering over a 1,000 subscribers on every continent (including Antarctica).
In 1997 a new era literally began for Next Stop South Pole with the launching of our Penguin Place website. Now with a flipper on the pulse of the burgeoning virtual penguin world, the combination of the positive on-line response with rising rents at the Seaport led Eric to waddle in the direction of going exclusively on-line.