HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Thousands showed up to Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville this morning hoping to snag a stuffed animal from Build-A-Bear Workshop. The retailer held an event today that allowed customers to purchase "any furry friend" at the workshop for a cost equal to their age.
The local store estimated that anyone who got in line after 8:50 Thursday morning would be out of luck for getting one of the bears. The event always had the caveat of "While supplies last." Well, they were not expecting the "overwelming response" that resulted in long lines, extensive waits, and disappointed guests.
This morning, The Build-A-Bear website posted a note saying they had to close lines at all U.S. stores. The post cited "crowd and safety concerns" as the reason for the closure.
"We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this unprecedented reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event. We understand that many Guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the line. Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we were unable to serve all of our Guests for the Pay Your Age Day event, as planned."
The website also promised their disappointed guests that they would make the situation right. The company is offering vouchers to U.S. and Canada Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members, who log into their account by midnight CST on Sunday, July 15. The vouchers will be honored through August 31, 2018.
"It is our sincere desire for all of our Guests to enjoy the best Build-A-Bear experience possible. As such, our goal with the voucher extension is to enable us to better flow traffic to the stores over the next several weeks to avoid long lines and wait times as much as possible. Therefore, we strongly encourage Guests to consider delaying their next planned trip to Build-A-Bear, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience in this matter."
WHNT News 19 was at Parkway Place Mall this morning during the chaos. Interactive Content Producer Noel Geiger shared this Facebook live: