UPDATE: Mall of America says Build-a-Bear lines have been closed, linking to a statement about "crowd and safety concerns."
For the first time in its history, Build-a-Bear is offering a Pay Your Age Day on Thursday, July 12. Another first? The company has closed down the promo at all of its U.S stores due to safety concerns.
The promotion has stoked the fires of Bear fandom. In the U.K., nine hour waits were common. At Mall of America people started lining up at 6 a.m. today, said mall spokeswoman Sarah Grap. More than 500 people are lined up.
Here was the original promo, which has now been canceled due to safety concerns:
Anyone can pay their age for any of the store's collection of furry friends, including the popular licensed characters, which are regularly priced between $6 and $75 but most sell for in the $20 to $32 range. Kids choose a stuffed animal from scores of choices, customize it, and get to fill it with stuffing.
Adults aren't left out of this promo. No one pays more than $29 in the one-day, in-store offer.
Before planning your visit to a Build-A-Bear Thursday, the parent or guardian needs to enroll in the company's free rewards program (email address and name required). The adult can also sign up on Thursday in the store, but people in that line are likely to experience longer wait times.
Guests should also know that the child must be present to qualify for the Pay Your Age purchase. Any accessories (outfits, sounds and scents) are regular price. The offer cannot be combined with any other offers.
The promo is to create awareness in Build-A-Bear's new Count Your Candles birthday experience. For that offer, also starting Thursday, guests 14 and younger pay their age for a Birthday Treat Bear when they visit a Build-A-Bear store during their birthday month. A child turning five, for example, will have five candles on her or his cake and pay $5 for a Birthday Treat Bear, plus tax. Birthday guests will also enjoy an engaging experience, including a party hat, special sticker and fun photo props when they want to capture the moment, according to the company.
Build-A-Bear, which operates nearly 450 locations worldwide with sales of $358 million in 2017, has struggled a bit with lower total revenues in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, the company opened two stores and closed four.
The company will also open a Build-A-Bear Bakeshop later this summer in Mall of America.