Build-A-Bear Workshop promotion draws large crowds, leaves some disappointed

Authored By Savannah Bennett

After seeing a “pay your age” promotion, hundreds of people came Thursday to Hamilton Place Mall in hopes of getting a stuffed animal, but overwhelming crowds prompted Build-A-Bear Workshop to close lines, which left many patrons disappointed.

“The crowds have exceeded everyone’s expectations and build a bear is working to accommodate the crowds or provide vouchers in instances where local authorities have shut down the line,” a spokeswoman for CBL—which owns and operates Hamilton Place Mall—Catharine Wells said in a prepared statement.

Those who were in line Thursday could stay, but authorities couldn’t take any more.

“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our U.S. Build-A-Bear Workshop locations due to crowd and safety concerns,” company officials said on the business’ website.

The special promotion allowed customers to pay their age. This means a patron with a 1-year-old child, would pay $1.

Hamilton Place Mall attracted a line so large it wrapped around the first floor of the mall.

Many residents waited hours in order to purchase a bear of their choosing at the discounted price.

“I figured there would be a line but I was not expecting this much of a line,” Cleveland resident Tammy Waldron said.

She had been waiting more than an hour with her grandchildren. This was going to be their very first build a bear.

“I will not disappoint my grandchildren,” Waldron said.

Chattanooga native Amanda Davis started waiting with her children at 8 a.m. Her children are 3 months old, 2 years old, 9 years old and 13 years old.

They waited two hours from in front of Dillards and still had a 45-minute wait from the front of the Build A Bear entrance.

Megan Wiedenbenner also got to the mall at 8 a.m. Each one of her children was able to purchase a bear.

“We just checked out and it’s 11:43, but all four kids got a cute little bear, ” Widenbenner said.

Build-A-Bear employee Sarah Land said the local team expected a crowd but nothing like what they got.

Build a Bear opened early at about 8:50 a.m. instead of their usual 10 a.m. opening in preparation for the event, she said.

“We’re happy for our turn out for what we got,” Land said. “We appreciate everyone being so patient with us.”