For many years, Build-A-Bear Workshop has been a fan favorite among kids and stuffed animal lovers.
Given their continued success, let’s take a look at the history of the American retailer.
Who owns Build-A-Bear?
As of April 2019, the current owner of Build-A-Bear Workshop is CEO and President Sharon Price John.
Before Sharon, though, Maxine Clark, the founder of the bear factory, was in charge.
In 1996, Clark left her role as president of Payless Shoe Source to found Build-A-Bear Workshop after being inspired by her friend’s daughter who was having trouble finding a specific Beanie Baby.
A year later, in 1997, Clark founded her company and presented it to the world.
According to their website, theirs are mission statement reads: “Give a furry friend a heart that evokes warm memories of childhood, friendship, trust and love.”
“From the beginning, our mission has remained the same: to add a little bit more to life.”
When did Build-A-Bear first open?
Build-A-Bear Workshop’s first flagship store opened in October 1997 at the Saint Louis Galleria mall in St. Louis, Missouri.
The success of Build-A-Bear Workshop’s growth allowed Clark to open a second store in Overland Park, Kansas, in August 1998.
By 2004, Build-A-Bear Workshop had expanded to 140 locations and opened its first international store in Sheffield, England.
Today the store is available at 400 locations worldwide.
In 2007, Build-A-Bear Workshop partnered with The Game Factory to create a video game for the Nintendo DS.
The following year, the company developed a game for the Nintendo Wii.
In 2018, Build-A-Bear Workshop opened 31 pilot stores in Walmarts across the United States.
The company is currently valued at $271.53 million (as of June 2023).
Who did Build-A-Bear collaborate with?
Due to the growing success of Build-A-Bear Workshop, the company has worked with a number of franchises to create themed bears.
These collaborations include:
You can find more collaborations on their website website.