TROY — Build-A-Bear Workshop, the interactive entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals, announced today that its highly anticipated newly designed store at The Somerset Collection will open on Oct. 26. The store is the fourth of six that the company will open this year in select markets across the United States.
Build-A-Bear Workshop has spent the last two years creating the newly imagined store design that merges the hands-on bear-making experience with innovative technology that is central to how kids play today. The updated store allows guests of all ages to personalize the bear-making process and offers them a different experience each time they visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop store.
The Somerset Collection is owned and managed by The Forbes Co. “Build-A-Bear Workshop and The Forbes Co. have had a tremendous relationship for many years,” said Linda McIntosh, corporate director of communications, The Forbes Company. ”We are very happy that Build-A-Bear Workshop has selected The Somerset Collection as the site of one of its newly designed stores.”
“Build-A-Bear Workshop invented experiential mall-based retailing 15 years ago and has been the leader in providing interactive experiences for kids of all ages,” said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder and chief executive bear. “Since our inception, over 100 million stuffed animals have been made in our stores. With this new store design, we are combining the love of a teddy bear with the best of digital technology. We look forward to continuing our leadership in the interactive retail space.”
While the Build-A-Bear Workshop signature process remains at its core, guests who visit the new stores will see noticeable changes to the company’s trademarked stuffed animal-making experience including:
- An interactive storefront that will change with the seasons, holidays, or other special events. Using Microsoft’s Kinect technology, and interactive touch elements, guests can engage and play with the signage at the front of the store.
- The Choose Me station where guests are introduced to all the furry characters and select one, which soon becomes a new friend. The stuffed animals are now at kid height so young guests can touch, play, and form a connection with these furry friends. There is a large selection of stuffed animals to choose from including teddy bears, bunnies, dogs, kittens, and more.
- The Love Me station allows guests to customize their furry friends with special personality attributes displayed as emoticons on an interactive table. Using Samsung’s SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense technology, guests can add unique traits – like cuddly, brave, silly and smart – to their red satin hearts, which are inserted inside their furry friends during the Stuff Me process.
- The award-winning Hear Me station, an interactive touch screen supplied by Canvys, features an assortment of high quality sounds that can be inserted into the stuffed animals for further customization and personalization. Guests can select and load popular hits from current music or sounds onto a chip plus record their own voice to a Build-A-Sound to further personalize their new friend.
- The Stuff Me station, where guests can now add “SCENTiments” to make their new furry friend smell yummy. An assortment of scents is available including: bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, and chocolate chip. The scents that are offered will change by season and holiday.
- The Fluff Me station allows guests to interact with their new furry friends at a “water rippling and splashing” digital bath tub that is enabled by Samsung’s SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense technology. The tub magically recognizes the items as they are placed on it and reacts with sensory effects such as virtual bubbles that appear when play soap is placed on the “water surface.”
- The Dress Me station is now organized by theme, such as dress up and super heroes, so coordinating items are grouped together and easily accessible. This station is updated with “Match Me” technology that allows guests to see what is new and to receive suggestions on related items that can be added to further personalize their stuffed animals.
- The process culminates at the Name Me station, where guests use a viewfinder or “bear-o-scope” that reveals the special attributes and personality that have been added to the animal throughout the process. At Name Me, guests create a personalized one-of-a-kind birth certificate that now includes a photo of their new furry friend.
- Guests conclude their in-store bear-making experience at the remodeled Take Me Home station, which now resembles the iconic Build-A-Bear Workshop Cub Condo. They receive their customized birth certificate that is themed to their stuffed animal selection and a special Stuff Fur Stuff club membership, a rewards program for guests. Each new furry friend is then placed in their very own Cub Condo carrying case, which is designed as a handy travel carrier and new home.
Build-A-Bear Workshop has opened three concept stores at West County Center in St. Louis, Mo., Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton, Ca, and Westfield Annapolis in Annapolis, Md. Two other newly designed stores will open in the following premiere shopping centers.