The National Retail Federation (NRF) (Washington, DC) announced that Build-A-Bear Workshop will be named the Retail Innovator of the Year for 2001. The award will be presented on Jan. 15, 2001, at the annual NRF convention in New York.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, an interactive entertainment retailer, first opened in the Saint Louis Galleria in October 1997. Its innovative approach to retail includes a bear-making assembly line, in which customers build their own stuffed animals through an eight-station process beginning with "Choose Me" and ending with "Take Me Home."
Chief executive "bear" Maxine Clark founded the store with the understanding that all stuffed animals - especially teddy bears - hold a special place in the hearts of people of all ages. The company reported nearly $20 million in 1999 sales and predicts 2000 sales will reach more than $50 million. By year's end, up to 40 Build-A-Bear Workshops will be found in 23 states.