Build-A-Bear insanity: Hundreds line up as chain halts ‘Pay Your Age Day’

LONE TREE, Colo. -- Hundreds of people lined up outside malls across the Front Range on Thursday morning trying to get inside Build-A-Bear Workshop stores during its "Pay Your Age Day."

The chain said early in the promotion that all lines in all stores would not accept any more customers because of the large crowds and safety concerns.

“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns," the company wrote on Facebook. "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.”

“Pay Your Age Day” allows customers to pay their current age for any make-your-own bear in all stores U.S., Canada and United Kingdom stores.

The Build-A-Bear stores were scheduled to open at 10 a.m., but just after 8:30 a.m., Park Meadows Mall officials said it was forced by local authorities to limit the lines and crowd.

An estimated 1,800 to 2,000 people were at the Park Meadows store with an expected wait time of six to eight hours as of 10:45 a.m., a store worker said.

Lines were also long at the Promenade Shops at Centerra in Loveland, with the parking lot full and several parents and children on the sidewalk waiting to get inside.

Build-A-Bear created the one-day promotion “to kick off its new, everyday celebration of birthdays.”

“We have overwhelming data that indicates Build-A-Bear is synonymous with childhood, and nearly one-third of our sales are associated with birthdays,” said Sharon Price John, president and chief executive officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

As of Thursday, shoppers who are 14 years old or younger can pay their age for a Birthday Treat Bear during their birthday month as part of the “Count Their Candles” promotion, which will be available all year.

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