If you’re one of the thousands of beauty industry executives headed to Las Vegas this weekend to attend Cosmoprof North America, be sure to check out Downtown Container Park, a retail concept that only seeks out unique, owner-operated start ups to drive home an entrepreneurial spirit.

The soft beating of drums hums in the distance. It grows louder and more urgent, drawing a crowd. The rhythmic thumping comes from a ceremonial drum circle that takes place nightly to wake a 55-foot-tall fire-spewing steel praying mantis that sits at the entry of the Downtown Container Park, a shopping center in downtown Las Vegas.

“The purpose of the mantis, certainly now after one and a half years, is that it’s identified by so many as part of the façade, a draw, an attraction. It falls into first-of-its-kind, best-of-its-kind, it’s just that wow factor,” explained Doug McPhail, Director of Retail Operations for the Downtown Project which manages the Downtown Container Park. “We draw people down from Fremont Street because they hear it and they see it.”

You can’t have a fire-breathing praying mantis parked at your entrance and not have something equally unique to back it up. The Downtown Container Park, which opened in December 2013, certainly delivers in the form of 43 repurposed shipping containers that have been constructed into a mixed-use shopping center.

“It’s not every day that one gets to design and build a project as unique and noteworthy as the Downtown Container Park,” offered Todd McBrayer, Director of Design for Breslin Builders. “The mixed-use project provides many retail, food, beverage and social gathering spaces needed for downtown, all in a unique mixture of repurposed shipping containers and Xtreme X Cubes, as well as a train, an immersion dome, plus a cool play area.”

With 36 tenants total and a capacity for 38, the Downtown Container Park has a mix of 10 bars, eateries and restaurants, which on average measure 620 square feet. There’s also a slew of art galleries, home décor stores and fashion boutiques that are each 270 square feet. The latest business to open in the Container Park is a full service salon, the Downtown Beauty Company, housed in a 650-square-foot train caboose.

While describing the Container Park as a “kind of a Legoland of shipping containers” Doug added that tenants must meet a few requirements. “We seek a certain type of business we think would complement very well with what we are doing. The businesses must be startups, owner operated and we want them to be something very unique.

“The root of everything about the Container Park is entrepreneurism. You can’t name any other retail operation that is dedicated to that,” he continued. “We craft our license agreements to make it easy for them to get in. The heart of the Container Park is helping them to build their entrepreneurial dreams.”

It should come as no surprise that the Downtown Container Park is dedicated to entrepreneurs when you find out Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe and clothing company Zappos.com, is the visionary behind the retail center.

Noting that Tony “sees the world through a different lens than most people do,” Doug said a fashionable shopping district in San Francisco was the Zappos CEO’s inspiration behind the Container Park. “Hsieh wanted it to have a Hayes Valley feel with modified shipping containers that included pop-up food spots and, as things do around here, it grew and turned into half a city block.”

One of the things Tony envisioned from the start was a children’s play area. “The center play area evolved from the beginning of the project and, as time moved on, it became central to the design and grew in size,” explained Todd. “The play tree in the play area was specifically designed for the project and includes connections with the vertical shipping containers, hidden stairs and other interactive features.”

“Tony wanted a play area that parents would be able to sit around the perimeter of and watch their children play,” further expounds McPhail. “He wanted a grand place that resembled an idyllic Swiss Family Robinson setting.”

Indeed it is a grandiose place, between a giant insect serving as greeter, a train car converted into a beauty shop and a play area straight out of a children’s tale, one-and-a-half-million people have already experienced Tony Hsieh’s entrepreneurial vision of a shipping container-centric retail village.