If you’re worried that a child on your list will be hard to shop for, head no further than the Gateway’s Build-a-Bear workshop, where you can turn shopping for a new friend into a fun day out for the whole family.
As opposed to just buying a by-the-books plush for your child, the Build-a-Bear store allows your child to select just what he or she wants in a friend: you can dress your bear up as anything from the standards such as Santa or perhaps a nurse to more exotic and holiday themed outfits such as a pilgrim or a NASCAR driver. You can even order a bear with your favorite NBA player’s jersey.
If there’s a holiday or occasion, Build-a-Bear has something to offer, from Veteran’s Day bears dressed in fatigues to green-furred St. Patrick’s day teddy bears. However, don’t let holidays limit your design options. There are bridal- and baby-shower bears, track-suited jogger bears with cellular phones, Harley-Davidson bears in leather, and animals for pet lovers such as huskies, collies, poodles, and kittens.
The Build-a-Bear process begins with choosing a bear from the workshop’s collection of over thirty animals, some of which start at just ten dollars. You can also record a message or select a voice box for your bear so that, when squeezed or hugs, it will play a prerecorded sound or a message you record. Then, you select a heart to be placed inside the bear with the cotton stuffing, which you can stuff yourself.
The bears at the workshop are made with a patented pre-lace system so that even the tiniest hands can help with the project after stuffing, and after your bear is created you can enter the name in the workshop’s Find-a-Bear database, which helps return lost bears to their owners. The database also allows you or your child to print out a custom birth certificate featuring a name of their choosing.
The process at Build-a-Bear is designed to be personal and fun for everyone from children to their parents, and the company succeeds: on any given day, you can enter the store and see people creating their own bears for a gift or for themselves.
For those who have enjoyed their Build-a-Bear experience, the website (http://www.buildabear.com) also offers outfits, seasonal wear, Disney character costumes, as well as other wardrobe accessories for bears you’ve built in the past. You can even order special bear outfits featuring Hello Kitty or your sorority.
The workshop has been a hit with Salt Lake valley kids since its opening, and the friendly staff is happy to assist you in choosing something special if your child isn’t able to attend the workshop with you. The Build-a-Bear company also has partnerships with organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, and its dedication to the community is evident on its website:
“At Build-A-Bear Workshop® , our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. An American icon, the Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Build-A-Bear Workshop embodies those thoughts in how we run our business everyday.”
If you aren’t located in the valley or perhaps want to send a bear to a far-off friend, you can also use http://www.buildabear.com to design and ship a bear online. The site also features fun e-cards, games, and printable projects for kids.
Build-a-Bear is located in the Gateway mall at:
25 S Rio Grande St
Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1151