Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Build-A-Bear brings joy to RiverGate

RiverGate Mall just got a little louder. Roars, giggles and screams pour from the west wing where Build-A-Bear Workshop set up shop.
The store, which opened Oct. 8, is one of 10 "pop-up" stores the company has opened nationwide for the holiday season that runs from Halloween through Easter next year, said Paul Bundonis, managing director for store in the central region.

The company's goal is to make its personalized bears and rabbits and their fashions available to more holiday shoppers at a time when stores typically see an uptick in traffic.

Pop-up stores with exceptional sales will remain open past the holiday season, Bundonis said.

"This location is a result of the flooding in early May to keep our customer base," said Tammy Davenport, store manager. She and her 10 staff members had worked at the Opry Mills Bear-A-Bear. "This is an opportunity for our guests here so they don't have to drive far down to Cool Springs."

The interactive retailer that provides customized stuffed animals is the third retailer to relocate to RiverGate Mall from Opry Mills after the May floods.

OshKosh B'gosh and Carter's moved in July to the Madison mall.

The company has long made its decisions based on the advice of kids fed to executives through its interactive website, where bear owners play games in Bearville, Bundonis said. Such counsel from young consumers has led to the development of Star Wars -themed bear outfits and a Star Wars bear on shelves this fall.

The RiverGate store has two rules: you must have fun and no inside voices aloud.

Thirty children from KinderCare in Goodlettsville followed those rules at the grand opening when they made Bunny Big Ears and Topaz Teddies to donate to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt through the Build-A-Bear Stuffed with Hugs program.

The birth of a bear begins with children rubbing a fabric heart between their hands as they make a wish, followed by bouncing feet to "jump start the hearts."

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., a public company, is expected to report its third-quarter results on Oct. 28 during an investor conference call. Its second-quarter revenues were $74 million, a 10 percent decrease from fiscal year 2009's second quarter.

Contact Juanita Cousins at 615-259-8287, or

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