Build-A-Bear Workshop has closed the lines all its U.S. stores due to huge “crowds and safety concerns” at its first-ever “Pay Your Age Day.”
Build-A-Bear announced earlier this week that today (Thursday, July 12) would be give kids (and parents) a chance to save big on stuffed animals and other furry friends. “Pay Your Age” is exactly as it sounds — if your child is 5 years old, then they can pick out any Build-A-Bear for $5; if you have two kids ages 3 and 6, then you pay $9 for two bears (or other stuffed animals and furry toys).
As word of the one-day-only deal spread, Build-A-Bear began anticipating long lines. When stores opened Thursday, even bigger crowds than expected began flooding stores nationwide.
Photos and video show the line at Syracuse’s Destiny USA stretching from the storefront around large portions of the Syracuse mall, including the food court by the carousel.
Similarly long lines have been reported at the Build-A-Bear store in Buffalo’s Walden Galleria and other shopping malls. Specific numbers have not been made available, by the crowds have been compared to the long lines for Black Friday shopping deals and new iPhone releases at Apple stores.
“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns,” Build-A-Bear said in a statement late Thursday morning. “We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores. We understand some Guests are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible.”
The “Pay Your Age” deal was only available to Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members, but it’s free to join. The minimum price was $1 but the maximum was still only $29, even for adults (and kids at heart) who are 30 years old and older.
The company thanked new Bonus Club members for “the unprecedented response” in an email Wednesday, and said members are still able to pay their age for the Birthday Treat Bear during the month of their birthday. The year-long offer to children under age 14 is available through the club’s Count Your Candles program and is also free.
It’s unclear if “Pay Your Age Day” sales will be offered to customers who arrive after lines were closed.
Customers are pictured inside Build-A-Bear Workshop at Destiny USA in Syracuse for the store’s first-ever ‘Pay Your Age Day’ Thursday, July 12, 2018.Michael Greenlar | firstname.lastname@example.org
Build-A-Bear Workshop, for those not familiar, is a store where shoppers can pick out a furry friend, such as bears, cats, dogs, sharks, dinosaurs, superheroes, Disney princesses, or characters from “Star Wars,” “Trolls,” “Paw Patrol,” “Pokemon” and “My Little Pony.” Staff then help customers of all ages stuff the bear inside the store, and potentially add other features such as outfits, scents or sounds when squeezed.
Clothes and other accessories cost extra.
Build-A-Bear has locations nationwide, including in Destiny USA, the Walden Galleria, Niagara Falls’ Fashion Outlets, Rochester’s Eastview Mall, and Albany’s Crossgates Mall.