Build-A-Bear Workshop to renovate Duluth location

Build-A-Bear Workshop's newest store design | MDS

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is planning to freshen up their Miller Hill Mall location at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway by bringing the company's newest store design to the Twin Ports.

Planning for a Duluth Build-A-Bear Workshop® location stretches all the way back to 2011 when the company made it public that it was opening a location within the Miller Hill Mall. In October 2014 the Duluth location finally opened at the Miller Hill Mall in a space that formerly housed Torrid, a plus-sized women's clothing store.

When the construction barricades for Build-A-Bear Workshop® came down it was somewhat surprising to see that not much had changed architecturally from what was in place from the tenant before, which is very unlikely for the company's new stores. The company's signature yellow and blue tones covered the space in a fresh coat of paint, however the space didn't feature the whimsical bear land (to it's fullest extent) that customers often find within their stores.

THAT'S ABOUT TO CHANGE

On March 9th construction bids were submitted by various companies for $299,999 worth of work on behalf of Build-A-Bear Workshop® at the Miller Hill Mall. That's more than just some fresh paint on the walls. It's a full renovation.

Last year Build-A-Bear Workshop® debuted a new store prototype design that has now begun to be rolled out across the country. The company had previously been hurting in sales and was looking for new ways to engage customers, while elevating the brand. The solution was in their store design.

Build-A-Bear Workshop at Mall of America | MDS

Mall of America was one of the first locations to receive this design in the country. It's far more modern than the previous design and uses the blue and yellow colors in block formations. This means that instead of the facade being clad in both colors like it previously was, it now is clad in custom blue metal that was designed and crafted just for Build-A-Bear Workshop®. With the exterior being blue, the interior naturally takes on the yellow color, allowing the company to main their roots while introducing a simpler and cleaner look.

Duluth's 2,154 square foot location will be completely renovated from head to toe, well, ceiling to floor, including a new storefront and all new interior. Inside customers will be able to create characters by using a number of interactive stations along.

NEW STORE DETAILS

An interactive storefront will allow customers to engage with digital signage embedded in the facade that can change depending on the seasons, holiday, and special events. Directly inside there store will be the Choose Me station where guests will find all the characters Build-A-Bear Workshop® has to offer. From there they'll move onto the Love Me station which uses an interactive digital table that allows guests to add unique traits to a heart that is then placed within their character.

Hear Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Hear Me station uses an interactive touch screen with a number of sounds that can be inserted inside the character, even allowing guests to put their favorite music or their own voice on a chip that can be inserted into the character. How cool is that?

From the Hear Me station guests move to the Stuff Me station where their character is filled with stuffing and becomes that adorable, huggable character they've always wanted. New to Build-A-Bear Workshop® are SCENTIments, allowing guests characters to smell like bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, or even chocolate chip! Don't let the family dog get too close when you get home or you might find yourself visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop® again quite soon.

Logically the next step is to close the seams and complete the character. Here's what's REALLY cool. Build-A-Bear Workshop® now has a program called "Find-A-Bear ID" which inserts a barcode within each character. This allows the character to be reunited with their owner if ever lost as the person who finds it can bring it to any Build-A-Bear Workshop® and the owner will be notified. 

This barcode also generates a unique code that guests receive on their character's birth certificate... yes, birth certificate, that allows their character to come to life online where they can play games and do all sorts of things with their new friend.

Name Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Fluff Me station is where guest's characters can take a bath in a digital bath tub (hello 21st century) which can recognize items placed in it and response with sensory effects. Naturally the character will need some clothing because who let's stuffed animals go naked these days? Just visit Dress Me station which includes tons of character clothing and Match Me technology which allows guests to see what's new and also suggest outfits.

Last by not least, it's time to visit the Name Me station. Here guests use a viewfinder that reveals all the attributes and personality traits within their character. A name is picked and a birth certificate, which even includes a photo of their character, is created.

Now it's time to head home... but not too quick! Visit the Take Me Home station which resembles a Build-A-Bear Workshop Cub Condo® to receive your membership and reward program details, along with the birth certificate you printed, and of course the Cub Condo carrying case for your character to ensure they're safe for their travels back home.

You never know so much went into building a stuffed animal did ya? Now you know. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop® will most likely move to a temporary space within the mall while renovations are completed. Construction will begin this Spring with a completion in Summer 2016.

 

Build A Bear Workshop to open October 10th

We first broke news that Build A Bear Workshop was coming to the Miller Hill Mall when CDINDULUTH was taking our very first steps as a development reporting community back in 2008. We continued to talk with corporate representatives on the location in Duluth including with Maxine Clark herself who happens to be the founder of the company. In July of 2012 we reported that plans had become official and in July of this year we reported that the opening would officially happen this October. Well folks, Build A Bear Workshop will officially throw open their doors to a children's paradise on October 10th at 10am

Build A Bear Workshop has been in the works for over six years and throughout that time the company has changed their planned location to various spaces within the mall. The permanent home for the company will be in the space that formerly housed Torrid which closed up shop last month. Torrid's store location closed due to underperforming sales about two years after their opening in 2012.

Above: Recent Build A Bear Workshop opening. Check out "Any Tots" review  here  (with pictures).

Above: Recent Build A Bear Workshop opening. Check out "Any Tots" review here (with pictures).

Work has started on outfitting the space now in order to make it into the iconic, brightly colored and whimsical space that Build A Bear Workshop is known for. We reported on the new prototype store design that the Duluth location will feature back in July (if you missed the article you can read it here). Not only will the Duluth location be top of the line in design but it will also probably be one of the most technologically savvy stores (besides an Apple store of course) that you'll see around. 

If you're interested in working for Build A Bear Workshop they are now officially hiring for the Miller Hill Mall location. For a sixth year in the row it was voted one of the top 100 companies to work for so we're assuming it's a pretty fun job. The Duluth location is currently hiring sales associates, part-time and full time assistant managers, and a store manager. Apply here if you're interested in working with children each and everyday to make an un-BEAR-ably cute friend. 

Let the countdown begin to creating your.. we mean your child's... perfect stuffed animal!

Build A Bear Workshop planning Miller Hill Mall location

Exterior of the new BBW Prototype   Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

Exterior of the new BBW Prototype Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

It looks to be official, Build A Bear Workshop will officially be coming to the Miller Hill Mall this fall on October 3rd.

Don't believe us, no really, we think we can be quite certain! Check out their website here! We first gained knowledge that Build A Bear Workshop, the iconic custom built stuffed animal store, was looking at the Duluth market for a new store almost six years ago. They first began searching for a suitable space at the Miller Hill Mall before the recession hit, but then, as with all retailers things were put on hold. 

With over 400 locations nation wide and the motto "Where best friends are made", Build A Bear Workshop is a one of a kind type of store that is guaranteed to make your child or grandchild's day, week, month, or sometimes even year. People don't go to the workshop simply to get a stuffed animal, they go for the experience... and might we add that it is quite an experience. New stores have been updated even more so to feature new and exciting technologies that will better connect with children of the modern day. Yes. Technology like touch screens that help in the assembly of a teddy bear. We're beginning to wonder if this is more so for the kids, or to give the parents something to do too! We're not complaining!

Interior of the new BBW Prototype   Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

Interior of the new BBW Prototype Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

Now what makes Build A Bear Workshop truly so special? You get the fact that you build your own stuffed animal, but what we don't think you get is the extent to which that process goes. What the store is known for is custom built bears (and now other various stuffed animals) in which a child selects every aspect of it's appearance. Literally every single aspect.

First you select your bear or stuffed animal type, then you go to a machine that's filled with white stuffing in which a worker helps you fill your bear, bringing it to life. You then take a little heart, make a wish upon it and then put that heart inside your bear or stuffed animal, giving it a heart beat and soul. Some of the options even include speaking elements that can be put inside the bear so that when the bear is hugged it speaks. But it doesn't end there, because let's be honest, a child's stuffed animal cannot be naked these days! That's when you go to small section of the store that features all the clothing elements what could possibly need or imagine. Yes people, you are then going to dress the bear.

It's quite the creative process and one that has put Build A Bear Workshop on the maps, making it a destination store. While one can imagine that a purchase from this store is not cheap, it's really the experience you're paying for. You're not running in and out grabbing whatever stuffed animal looks good. You're taking a 45 minute journey to create your child's perfect stuffed animal. So when it comes down to it, it's worth the money.

Interior of the new BBW Prototype   Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

Interior of the new BBW Prototype Image: Property of Celebrate Every Day With Me

So now that you know a little about the company, you might be excited to find out that Build A Bear Workshop looks to be opening a store at the Miller Hill Mall on October 3rd. The exact location is not clearly stated, however we do have a few speculations. Originally they had wanted to open in the center court in the space the houses Pro Image, or even one of the jeweler spaces. The most logical space now might be the former Trade Secret and Select Comfort spaces that could be combined into one space one Victoria's Secret moves their temp location out. Otherwise Build A Bear Workshop could easily open a location in the other temp Victoria's Secret location where " A Dollar " store use to be near Sears. 

Whatever the space maybe, it appears as if a lease has been solidified and after many, many, MANY, years of planning, Build A Bear Workshop soon will be delighting the creative minds of children all around the city of Duluth and surrounding areas. In other words, parents... start saving now!

If you have time, check out a quick video of the new store and process of bringing a stuffed animal to life. It's quite neat to see.