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Build-A-Bear Workshop

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Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is an American retailer headquartered in Overland, Missouri, that sells teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Customers go through an interactive process in which the stuffed animal of their choice is assembled and customized during their visit to the store. Build-A-Bear Workshop is the largest chain that operates in this style. The company has been acclaimed for the quality of its working environment, especially as a workplace for teenagers.[2] The company's slogan was "Where Best Friends Are Made" from 1997 to 2013, when it was changed to "The Most Fun You'll Ever Make".[3]

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.
Public company
Traded as NYSEBBW
Industry Retail
Founded October 26, 1997; 20 years ago (1997-10-26)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Founder Maxine Clark
Headquarters Overland, Missouri, U.S.[1]
Key people
Maxine Clark (founder)
Sharon Price John (President/CEO)
Products Stuffed toys
Sports Stuff
Revenue United States dollars 377.7 million (2015)
Number of employees
~5,643 (2011)

After Toys 'R' Us announced plans to close all 735 of its U.S. stores in March 2018, Build-A-Bear Workshop remained as the only major toy retailer to survive the retail apocalypse.[4]



A Build-A-Bear Workshop at Vaughan Mills in Toronto

Build-A-Bear Workshop was founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, with its first store in the Saint Louis Galleria. By 2010, the store had sold over 50 million bears and had over 400 stores in operation worldwide in Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Norway, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The chain also originally had at least one store in Brazil and one in Oman, but both have since closed for reasons undisclosed.

Former logo used with minor changes until 2015.

In 2006, the company acquired The Bear Factory from Hamleys and began operating in its flagship store in London.

Build-A-Bear has also engaged in various charities, including the WWF Collecti-bear series which has given over $1 million (USD) to the World Wildlife Fund.[5] As part of its tenth birthday celebration, the company built 11 playgrounds throughout the USA and Canada in partnership with KaBOOM! and announced that it had donated over $11 million to various child and family causes since 1994. A Build-A-Bear Workshop video game was developed by The Game Factory and released for the Nintendo DS platform for Christmas 2009.

Build-A-Bear created several tie-in stuffed animals for various promotional events, including a toy The Cat in the Hat, a toy Shrek, a toy Cody Maverick penguin from Surf's Up, a toy Mumble from Happy Feet, a toy E.B. from Hop, both Alvin and Brittany from the Alvin and the Chipmunks film series, a Jonas dog, a Shake It Up bunny and a Wizards of Waverly Place bear. Build-A-Bear workshop has also released several lines of miniature toys included in Happy Meals at McDonald's restaurants, running first in May 2006[6] followed by a second promotion in August 2007, a third in October 2009, a fourth one in February 2012, and fifth in November 2013. In November 2015, they came back to McDonald's.These were only available in McDonald's in the United States. Build-A-Bear has been licensed since 2013 by Hasbro to sell characters based on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.[7]

In 2010, in honor of the Sanrio company's 50th anniversary, Build-A-Bear released limited edition Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, Chococat, My Melody, and Keroppi. This included the release of mini keychains of the four characters along with Deery Lou.[8] In 2010, Build-A-Bear also started selling Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of electronic hamsters by Cepia LLC. Also in 2010, Build-A-Bear introduced a line of smaller bears in boxes and already stuffed bears called smallfrys. A variety of smallfrys were available ranging from normal bears and rabbits to blue tigers and purple giraffes. Just like the normal 30–40 cm bears they had clothes and accessories but were not as big a variety as the larger bears.

Starting in 2011, Build-A-Bear added Victoria Justice as their new spokesperson. In the mid-year, she began appearing in all Build-A-Bear Workshop commercials. Build-A-Bear also released a feature film available on the iPad through MoPix in December 2011.[9]

In 2013, when Maxine Clark retired, Sharon Price John was named CEO & Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop. Since June 2013, she has led a turnaround effort that included closing Bearville and un-profitable stores, re-designing logos, mottos, and giving the brand a refresh for today's customers.

In Holiday 2014, Build-A-Bear launched Santa's Merry Mission, an app launched around Build-A-Bear Workshop's Christmas Furry Friends.

In 2015, Build-A-Bear Workshop introduced a new store format called the Discovery Store. The store uses new logos, new color pallets, and a fresh overall new look. Build-A-Bear is also experimenting with adding more licensed products, mostly from Hit movies like Minions, and more.

In 2016, Build-A-Bear was pushing to expand growth into smaller spaces, like Carnival Cruise Ships (Build-A-Bear At Sea), and select Movie Theaters. They also introduce Concourse Shops, which are small Build-A-Bear Workshop kiosks located within Malls and Movie Theaters.

In 2017, Build-A-Bear Workshop brought Build-A-Bear At Sea on to Carnival Cruise Ships. The experience is available during Carnival's Kids Program and is set up as a pop-up shop within Camp Ocean.

Other brandsEdit


In late October 2007, Build-A-Bear Workshop opened a massively multiplayer online game called Build-A-Bearville (also known as Bearville), developed in association with Frima Studio. It allowed users to play games, explore an expanding world, partake in special events, and chat in a safe community. In addition, Build-A-Bear was featured on an episode of Undercover Boss

Redeemable codes were sold with some products from Build-A-Bear Workshops that could be used to unlock features and content within the game. However, these were not required in order to play. Anyone could create an account and play with access to most of the game's features, even if they had not purchased a product from a Build-A-Bear Workshop.

The virtual world closed in 2015 and is no longer playable. It was replaced by the kids' site "Bearville Alive!", containing a web series featuring Build-a-Bear characters.[clarification needed]

Make Your Own MascotEdit

The "Make Your Own Phanatic" shop at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, now closed.

"Make Your Own Mascot" stores are trade at Progressive Field (Cleveland), Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati), AT&T Park (San Francisco), Nationals Park (Washington D.C.), and Busch Stadium (St. Louis) featuring the home team's respective mascots, as well ones for Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace store and Mr. Met, the mascot of the New York Mets, at their Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, New York City.[10] A location at Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) closed at the end of the 2010 season.

Friends 2B MadeEdit

Friends 2B Made was an interactive store that allowed customers to make dolls and purchase related accessories launched by Build-A-Bear in 2005. The store was open briefly in nine locations before closing in 2009.


Build-A-Dino allows customers to create a stuffed dinosaur and purchase related accessories. The first location was located inside the T-Rex Cafe in Kansas City, in partnership with Landry's Restaurants. The first stand-alone store was a temporary holiday location at Chesterfield Mall in Chesterfield, Missouri, which closed after the 2006 holidays to relocate to the St. Louis Science Center. There is also a Build-A-Dino inside a second T-Rex Cafe at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. There was a build a Dino at the Myrtle Beach Build-A-Bear Workshop flagship store but it has been since closed as of 2015.

Build-A-Bear at the ZooEdit

"Build-A-Bear at the Zoo" can be found at the Saint Louis Zoological Park. This store features several types of zoo animals.[11]

Build-A-Bear Workshop At SeaEdit

Build-A-Bear Workshop At Sea is located on Carnival Cruise Ships within their Camp Ocean Children's Program. They are pop-up shops where Guests can make their own furry friends while on a cruise.


External linksEdit