Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Has Me Snuggling and Struggling
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So I indulged my inner child on this past vacation. And of course, my own children as well.
- Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
- Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
I actually was not familiar with this company at all, but I knew that their factory was in Vermont and that they had tours. And also, who doesn’t want to see the behind-the-scenes action of teddy bear making?
First things first, were you aware that it’s called a Teddy Bear because of Teddy Roosevelt? Yes, it’s true. Roosevelt was on a bear hunting trip and hadn’t shot anything. His assistant tied a black bear to a tree and summoned the former President over to shoot it so that he wouldn’t go home empty handed. That’s pretty pathetic actually. However, Teddy refused to shoot it, and instead cut it free. So then a stuffed bear company designed a bear and named it after the President, and it stuck.
And now we have teddy bears. And the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.
What I love about this factory is that it’s like a big family gathering place. They have adirondack chairs for parents to lounge in throughout the outside property, there’s cutouts for pictures, lawn games and balls and toys for playing outside. There’s even a silo that kids can write their names on.
I do have to say that I had a jolt of sticker shock when I first walked in. Once again, I knew nothing ABOUT these bears, only knew OF these bears. I picked up a normal sized stuffed bear and looked at the price tag – $60?!?! Was this some special edition? I was struggling with that number.
No, no it was not. All of them cost that price.
Snuggling and Struggling at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
However, as I later learned, they all come with a lifetime guarantee. As long as they have their tag on their butt intact or the stamp in their eyeballs, they are guaranteed. There are bears that are sent in from being melted in the dryer, but their tag or eyes were preserved and they were fully replaced.
Isn’t that awesome? Because of that, bears are able to be passed down from generation to generation.
We ended up letting the little girl make her own bear. She picked one and a worker helped her stuff it. Then she filled out the birth certificate while the worker stitched up the animal. We are the proud family of a pink teddy bear, “Luna”.
Then we went on the tour.
There are so many staff members who have stayed with the company for an extraordinarily long time. I found out that at ten years in they get to design their own custom bear. At 15 years they get a plaque dedicated to them on the production floor and at 20 years there is a parking space in their honor.
They have one guy that works there that does all of the cutting. One person. He takes pride in what he does and wants it to be perfect, so they leave it all to him to do.
And they don’t waste anything. All of the stuffing is from recycled products. Also the extra bear fur material is saved for “button bears” that go over your tour button when you visit the factory.
They also have Dr. Nancy.
She is the one who gets your bear when it has an injury. You send it in to her special hospital. Each bear gets its own cubby and a honey IV drip while evaluated. This is not a joke – I took a picture of it.
They teach you the proper way to clean your stuffed animals and what can happen if you don’t. And they showed us some of the custom projects that they have done. One man sent in a picture of his wife in her wedding dress from years ago and they created a bear wearing the same wedding dress as what she had. How awesome is that?
And unlike the cost of the bear itself, the tour was surprisingly cheap. Adults were $4 each and kids under 12 were free. It was a great way to spend the morning, and now we have a new family member for a lifetime.