Happy 4th of July 2015!

July 4, 2015

I always feel appreciative to live in this great country and to be afforded the luxuries of being an American. I am probably one of the few people I know who prefers travel in the USA to travel elsewhere. So be it.

The last few years since stepping down from my full time position as CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop I have been able to appreciate my freedoms  more deeply. While I loved my 16 years at the helm of the company I founded in 1997, I was able to find  my successor and move to the “next act” of my life. Perhaps the greatest gift I could give my company and the children who will enjoy it in the future is our new CEO, Sharon John. While no one could have created what I did at Build-A-Bear Workshop, someone else can take it to its new and better future. The realization of this for me was my freedom. Now I could go and work on other things I cared about deeply–inspiring other entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities and working in my community to improve our public education systems. What if our Halls of K-12 education became more like Malls of Education where teachers and school leaders had to inspire children to enter their classroom just as we do in a mall? The best teachers would add entertainment value and hands on learning just as we did with Build-A-Bear Workshop. Stay tuned!

My parents were first generation Americans and they wanted my sister and me to have all the benefits afforded to children born in this great land—a quality public education, the opportunity to have the best health care in the world, the opportunity to live, work and vote in a democracy and the birthright to achieve your own greatest potential. As I look back on it, I have benefited from all of that and even more. It seems that as I take one path, I found at least two others that added greatly to me as a  person and also allowed me to add to it as well. Only in America, the land of opportunity is not just words in a song—it is the reality of what America brings and has always brought for immigrants looking for a brighter future. That has not changed…if anything it has gotten stronger. In my daily life in St. Louis or wherever I travel I meet people who have come here to have a better life and have added greatly to what is America and they are so proud to become true American citizens. They may know more about America then children lucky enough to be born here.

In April and May I had two occasions to visit my hometown of Miami, FL. Always when I travel to Miami I marvel at the diversity that has become Miami. Miami always had a Latin feel but that was furthered during the 1960’s when so many Cubans fled to Miami for a life of freedom. Thanks to all of these immigrants—so anxious for a future, that Miami was reborn and is today one of the hub cities in our country—a hot place literally and figuratively to live, work and play.  No longer is it a place for just good weather and Spring Break pandemonium but it is a place where diverse cultures have come together to create a 21st century city like no other in America. One of the fun parts is to see how Miami has adapted all of the modern technologies and services to continue to fuel its growth like Uber and Lyft! Our personal drivers were all timely and friendly and the travel in Miami traffic was a pleasure and cheaper than a rental car or taxis for sure!

Not all immigrants to Miami are from Latin America. Our hotel has staff from Russia, London and India.Our Uber and Lyft drivers were equally diverse. It was the sparkle in  all of their eyes that really said it all. It is through their eyes and the eyes of all immigrants to our great country that we can see what we may take for granted—what freedom really means. How can we all understand how valuable it is if we have always had it? Aren’t we all immigrants of some sort? I immigrated from Florida to Missouri. I was an immigrant to the man’s world of business. Today I am a digital immigrant because I have had to learn technology where children today are born to it. I am an immigrant to all the things I have learned and still want to learn. I understand what it feels like to have to prove your sincerity, that freedom to achieve your true potential is not automatic—it still must be earned.

This past year especially in St. Louis has made us all look at our freedoms differently–to value them, to ask why they are not afforded to all citizens of our country and in MO, our state and in turn, empower our freedoms to do the great things our forefathers expected.  The writers of our Constitution did an incredible job of creating a foundation of freedom for all our citizens and those that come to our country. Article 15 says it all: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of Citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.” (bold added by me). 

On this 4th of July weekend I am reminded of all the values I hold dear, all of the freedoms I have been granted and all of the responsibilities that come with being a citizen of this great country. I live in a state of happiness fueled by a passion for everything I am committed to: the company I founded.  The people I work with, my husband and friends, my community,the young school children I work for every day, my gratitude for my good health and every breath I breathe in freedom. I know that I have created this happiness by choice. I do know it’s not just one choice that makes the difference—it is all of the mini choices that I have made along the way that have led me to this moment in time. The choices that I am able to make because I am an American citizen.

Happy 4th of July!




March 10, 2013

It is that wonderful time of year–March Madness. I have loved basketball since I was a child thanks to my neighbor who coached the University of Miami and taught the neighborhood kids to play basketball. Even though I never grew past 4’10” I was a solid player thanks to Coach Hale. He taught us that it was a matter of mind over matter. And so I imagined myself a giraffe able to easily make the dunks and that became a lifelong foundation for my view of life–if you can visualize it, it is possible.

College sports can sometimes bring out the worst in people–the power of advertising, the pressure of winning and the game over academics. I prefer to think of all the good things college sports brings about–like a college education for so many, many people. Players and non players flock to schools for the proper blend of sport and study. Some choose Division 3 schools where sports is not a major focus and others choose Division 1 where scholar athletes abound in multiple sports categories. The money from television contracts provides much needed revenue as well as positive publicity for the schools.

Today the Saint Louis Billikens won the A10 Conference title and are now off to the A10 Tourney in Brooklyn which will help determine their bracket in the NCAA finals. It was also senior day–THE day when it is apparent that it takes a village to win a basketball game. Parents of seniors are also honored for the part they play in the lives of their children as they climb the mountain to and through college. Cody Ellis’ parents flew all the way from Perth, Australia to be honored with their son, one of the all time best players at SLU. It has been fun to watch Cody, especially this year with his blue hair mohawk. Also Kwamaine Mitchell has been a delight. A great player and once again proving that good things can come in smaller packages!

The winning season for the Bills is bittersweet. Just before the season started, Coach Rick Majerus passed away leaving the team with a huge void–these were the first class of players that Coach recruited and he would not be there to see them through. Assistant Coach Jim Crews stepped up to be interim coach and after a rough start, the team got their footing and persevered. Like the signs said today at Chaifetz Arena–Crew-sin for a Championship!

Congrats to Saint Louis U for a fantastic season and the example of perseverance we all needed. Thanks to Coach Crews for being a class act and for Coach Majerus for looking down on us this season. This one’s for you!

It’s a 5-PEAT!!

January 17, 2013

Build-A-Bear Workshop was named to FORTUNE magazine’s annual list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the 5th year in a row and we are BEARY excited!

The list was revealed in a surprise announcement this morning on FORTUNE’s iPad App. Details and features on all of the honored companies will be posted online tomorrow at Fortune.com/BestCompanies. We can’t wait to have more details when the full announcement is made and even more info when the print issue is released next week.

Sustaining a position on this employer of choice list for 5 years is truly one of our most PAWSOME accomplishments. Our Associates are the heart of our brand. When our Associates have fun, our Guests have fun. Thanks to all–our Associates, our Guests, our vendors and all stakeholders for helping us be amongst the BEARY best!



December 31, 2012

The new year is always a time for looking forward. A time for introspection. What will the new year bring? What did we learn in the year just ended? What do we hope for ourselves and the world we live in? How do we meld our work with our personal values, keep life in perspective and build a legacy for the future?

In 2012 Build-A-Bear Workshop celebrated our 15th birthday–well over 100 million stuffed animals sold and $4 billion in revenues since our first store opened in St. Louis, MO in the Fall of 1997. Hard to believe when you think the idea was born on a shopping trip in a local toy store when a 10 year old girl–said, “we can make these!” Boy was Katie right. 400+ stores worldwide have proven that a hug is understood in any language and to me that is the most important lesson.

What would the world be like if teddy bears were in charge? Would our congress and our senators (imagine teddy bears of all sizes, shapes and colors) be struggling to reach a compromise for the sake of the country? I think not–they would listen to each other and agree to a mutual understanding and then hug. That is what we need right now. Howard Schultz CEO of Starbucks asks us all to “Come Together” and has even created a conversation on Twitter at #cometogether. I AGREE!! What kind of company would Starbucks or Build-A-Bear Workshop be if its leaders and store teams could not agree on the products or the service they offered? Would we even be a brand that people loved if our associates didn’t support the companies’ goals and “come together” to reach our objectives? No way. That is what makes great companies and enduring brands — leaders have a vision that the teams can support and in fact make even larger by working together, by as Howard says, coming together. At Build-A-Bear Workshop we call it our magic formula : 1+1=10! It is about colla-BEAR-ation, teamwork at it’s highest, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

This year at Build-A-Bear Workshop we launched our newly imagined store design. While Build-A-Bear introduces new products every few weeks, we hadn’t really changed our store design markedly in 15 years. It was time! 10 year old kids today have all kinds of technology that they engage with that wasn’t even available 5 years ago, let alone 15 years ago. How could we use their love of technology and game play and combine it with their love of stuffed animals and the heart that makes our furry friends so extra special? Two years in the making, our newest store design is an example of the highest level of colla-BEAR-ation. From our team of Cub Advisors (our kid experts), their Moms, our store and IT design teams inside and outside the company we created a store with more stuff, more fluff and much more heart. These 6 initial stores have lived up to every expectation and exceeded many. We are already working on our expansion plans in 2013 with our landlords, who as our partners, have also been part of the colla-BEAR-ation team.

I am looking forward to 2013. Build-A-Bear Workshop has exceeded my wildest expectations. It is capable of many more years even better than the last 15. Like every year it will have its changes and challenges–that is part of growth and building a brand for generations to hug. At Build-A-Bear Workshop we like to say it takes a village to raise a bear and we are very thankful to have such a big village–our Guests and our Associates always willing to “Come Together” for a common purpose–to bring smiles to kids 3-103 everyday.

A BEARY happy and healthy new year to all.



December 22, 2012

Have a BEARY Merry

It sounds trite to say this but it still amazes me how fast the year goes. I used to think this was just about being in retail—no sooner is one holiday season over and we have started planning the next. One good by product of that is that you are almost always in the holiday spirit!

This year marks the 16th holiday season for our company and we have come a long way from our first store opening at the Saint Louis Galleria in October, 1997. In those days I signed every single birth certificate, hand wrote every gift certificate and helped dress tons of bears as Guests brought their kids and families to our store to celebrate our reason for being—to make kids smile! It wasn’t that we made kids smile everyday that was so unique, but where we did it—the mall, and how we did it– we engaged with our Guests young and old. They had fun because we had fun and vice versa.

We constantly launch new products (we are known for our cuteness)  but we hadn’t more than tweaked our experience in 15 years. Armed with lots of data and Guest input this year we launched a newly imagined store design. Over two years in the ideation and testing process, all 6 of these first new stores are re-awakening the fun of making your own stuffed animal and has exceeded our expectations.

When I created Build-A-Bear Workshop I wanted it to be all the things and more that I loved about shopping with my Mom and sister when I was a child mixed with a little Disneyesque magic and Willy Wonka wonder. It worked and today 16 holiday seasons later we have sold well over 100 million stuffed animals and done over $4 billion in revenue and made zillions of children and their families smile. None of us could have imagined in 1997 the impact of the internet, mobile phones or apps for that matter. Today bearville.com, our app and our newly imagined store makes Build-A-Bear Workshop even more relevant for an entirely new generation of kids.

At Build-A-Bear Workshop we celebrate children and the heart of a child that is inside all of us. This last week has been devastating for us as many of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT are our Guests. The world mourns for these innocent children and their beloved teachers. Our staff has helped celebrate birthdays and milestones with many of these children .  I am told a teacher at Sandy Hook uses our bear in her classroom to teach character and responsibility.  This past week we helped in the grieving process as people came in to our stores with their children to help ease the pain or just to find something fun to do—a new friend to hug when the world seems to be getting out of control. It is what we do. It is what we have been doing for 15 years. It is still our reason for being—plain and simple, to make kids smile when they need it the most. And frankly, lets be honest, it helps us too. Over 500 bears were made and delivered to Sandy Hook for every child –all packaged with TLC and the hope that our furry friends be there to listen to their thoughts and hug away their tears.

At Build-A-Bear Workshop from the first animals we made in 1997 to everyone made since then, we consider it a privilege to be part of what makes the world a better place—encouraging our children to be kids. To laugh and cry and share and hug. I have always believed that the more kids have a teddy bear as a child the less violence we will see. Teddy Bears and their soft cuddly friends teach us so many lessons but the most important is the value of a hug. It is universal. Our bears are proud to be called into duty and doing just what they were meant to do—HUG.  How lucky we are to be part of the solution and not the problem. That is why whenever a child needs a hug, we will always be first in line. YOU CAN COUNT ON IT!

This holiday season let’s take some extra special time to hug someone we love, to say I am glad you are part of my world, I am here for you. Kindness matters.  Hugs make the world BEAR-able.

Happy holidays.

Founder & Chief Executive Bear


October 19, 2012

This weekend marks the 15th Birthday of Build-A-Bear Workshop! Our first store opened at the Saint Louis Galleria in St. Louis, MO in October of 1997 and we’ve been sharing smiles and making memories with our Guests ever since. As part of our birthday celebration, we are inviting Guests to make special stuffed animals for free to donate to Toys for Tots in the U.S. and Salvation Army in Canada on Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21. This special effort will help kick off the holiday toy drives for both organizations this season.

Build-A-Bear Workshop is a company with heart and Stuffed with Hugs is a way to give our young Guests the opportunity to give back. Over 30,000 stuffed animals will be made and donated to children who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday. As we celebrate our birthday, we also commemorate 15 years of giving back to important causes around the world.

Supporting causes that are important to our Guests- like children’s health and wellness, animals, and literacy- has been a part of the Build-A-Bear Workshop teddy bear culture of sharing and caring since the very beginning. Build-A-Bear Workshop and its foundation have given nearly $31 million to these important causes and we have always shared the hug of a teddy bear wherever needed locally or abroad.

We are looking forward to continuing this commitment to giving back through Stuffed with Hugs. Participants can meet Build-A-Bear Workshop mascot, Bearemy® and enjoy a variety of 15th birthday celebration activities. As a thank you for helping, Guests will receive a Build-A-Bear Workshop coupon for a future visit. To learn more about Stuffed with Hugs weekend activities or to find a store in your area, visit buildabear.com. I hope to you can visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop store near you this weekend, participate in Stuffed with Hugs, and help brighten kids’ holidays with teddy bear hugs!

All the beary best,
Maxine Clark
Chief Executive Bear


September 2, 2012

On July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon and this past week on August 25th, he passed away. For children of my generation, who heard President Kennedy declare not as a Democrat or a Republican but as the President of ALL the people of the United States that the USA would in fact put a man on the moon, to that incredible day in 1969, Neil Armstrong is a hero and inspiration.

I was just 20 years old on July 21, 1969, a rising junior at the University of Georgia and a summer art counselor at an Atlanta, Georgia day camp. Can it really be 43 years ago when I can remember it as if it were yesterday? Our campers were at swimming class and I was working the front desk when news of his moon walk came loud and clear through the camp radio: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” I had watched my first space launch on TV in 1961 when I was in the 6th grade so mine was a generation who now knew just about anything was possible—even some day a woman on those space ships. Growing up in Florida, the home of Cape Canaveral and the NASA space launches, made it all seem even more real. Thanks to President Kennedy’s vision and the investment of the United States Government in the exploration of space, a generation of children and young adults became interested in science in an entirely new way.

Every aspect of my education and entertainment (think Star Wars) from 1961 forward was embedded with something that had been motivated by the exploration of space. From food to clothing materials to photography to plant science to health care to eventually the Internet made public, new products and services were being invented almost daily inspired by investments and learnings from our exploration of space. Though I did not grow up to be scientist, I was certainly made more curious by the problem solving that science taught me. To this day my curiosity in science has grown to an interest in health care and food science and how the two relate. Still, my career is in retail as Founder &  Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop and what seems like a far cry from Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, is really a very strong connection.

The world changed forever on that day because we could finally see what was possible—nothing could limit my generation. While a war was occurring in Viet Nam, we could see peace because if we could land on the moon and walk on it’s surface, we could end wars, find the cure for cancer, eliminate death by heart disease, diabetes, expand the Internet, eliminate hunger and create prosperity for all because we would need ALL of us—men, women, black, white, Indian, Hispanic, Asian, European—literally all of God’s children to accomplish this. What was a big, big universe was about to become much smaller because we could ALL engage in its future.

We had much work to do because even in 1969 not all the talents of all of our citizens were being used to our greatest advantage. Many institutions of higher learning and ultimately the job market were limited –if women or blacks were allowed to be educated or to gain employment they were often limited by quotas and unspoken biases. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was written in order to end discrimination based on religion, race, color, or national origin it didn’t just happen overnight. The act also energized the women’s rights movement, which had somewhat slowed after women gained the right to vote in 1920.

The Space program and the opportunity it generated changed that—we had to mobilize. There was work to be done and jobs to fill and we needed an educated population to invent what we could only imagine. In 1972 with the introduction and support of Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, Title IX was passed. While Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics for women and minorities, the original statute made no explicit mention of sports but now opened the gateways of education so that women and men, black and white could study at the best institutions and best of all they could study math, science, law, medicine and social science and yes, play sports. And best of all, they could equally compete and receive scholarships to do so.

I am reminded this week by our political leaders how much has changed about government. I don’t think anyone thinks the government should do everything for people or even most things, but it is the US Government that was able to make our entire country a level playing field so young girls like myself could grow up to be successful business people and scientists and college teachers—anything we dreamed. The Space program was envisioned and declared by President John Kennedy a Democrat, The Civil Rights Act by Johnson, also a Democrat. President Richard Nixon, a Republican signed into law Title IX and authorized the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to enact the laws and other Presidents from both parties worked to grow opportunities for all Americans—not just the ones who voted for them or labeled themselves one party or another.

What I heard that July day in 1969 was this: “ONE SMALL STEP FOR (A) MAN (AND) A GIANT LEAP FOR HUMANKIND”

If I were running for President I would look to a future where all children would have the guarantee of a high quality, high standards FREE public education—where children are valued as our future and the people who teach them revered as our best and brightest—our heroes of the 21st century. Technology is here to help and personalize and individualize learning—kids can go faster or slower depending on their talents and the best teachers in the world can all be a Dr. Rogers of sorts like Sal Khan because it can be broadcast to a classroom or a home or an Android phone or an Ipad  in any neighborhood rich or poor.  I wonder what  I might have decided to be  had I been able to be a student of the FREE  Khan Academy and Sal? Where there is a will, there is a way.  Our leaders just have to have the will. Without this as our future for America’s children Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon will have been in vain and that isn’t good enough.

If you were running for President of the USA what would your vision be?

Hugs to all,


January 29, 2012

Our 2012 Huggable Heroes--What an incredible group!

It’s a new year! Every January, I reflect upon the previous year, and think long and hard about what I can learn from it. And every year, without fail, I am amazed at how much I learn from young people who are changing the world. I am always inspired by their drive and commitment to make a difference, and so I make it an annual mission to reward these passionate kids who teach me and all of us so much about helping others.

Today, Build-A-Bear Workshop launches our ninth annual Huggable Heroes search for young people who go to extraordinary lengths to make the world a better place. The program was created to encourage and empower kids – ages eight to 18 – to be community service leaders and to award them for accomplishing great deeds.

Anyone ages eight and above – parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, community leaders, even young people themselves – may nominate a candidate. Entry forms are available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada or online at: buildabear.com/huggableheroes. Nominations will be accepted through February 27.

Entries will be narrowed down to 80 semifinalists in March and to 30 finalists by the beginning of May. Ultimately 10 new Huggable Heroes will be selected to join the ranks of more than 100 other amazing youths from the previous eight years. Each new Huggable Hero will receive a $7,500 scholarship toward his or her college education and a $2,500 donation from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation for a cause of his or her choice. Also, the Huggable Heroes will receive a video camera and a trip to St. Louis to celebrate their accomplishments, participate in a professional photo shoot, and meet fellow 2012 Huggable Heroes.

Last year I learned a few lessons on giving back from each one of our Huggable Heroes:

From Nicholas and Cassidy I learned the importance of staying positive when presented with hardships, using personal experiences to help others in similar circumstances.

From Shannon, Kyle, Rujul, Justin and Armin, I learned to look at issues impacting other countries, see if there’s a way to solve them and then to take action.

From Shaun, Jasmine and Deventae, I am reminded to always look around the community in which I live and support those in need – whether they be sick, hungry or lacking educational resources.

You can read all of the 2011 Huggable Hero stories at buildabear.com/huggableheroes. I hope you are inspired by these stories, learn from them and take up a cause of your own. Because whatever you can do, no matter how big our small, you can make a difference.

What kind of stories about giving back will we hear in 2012? I hope to hear yours or one you share about a friend, and wherever the stories come from, I have no doubt I will be inspired by them. We look forward to hearing about the next group of young leaders and givers.

Chief Executive Bear

P.S. Behind our Huggable Heroes are great parents who encourage charitable behavior. There are many ways young people of all ages can become involved in community service. Here are a few tips from some of the Huggable Hero’s moms:

• Walk the walk. Get involved yourself; participate in charitable events on behalf of causes you believe in.

• Include children in volunteer efforts. Provide opportunities for children to see and act on the needs of others so they learn first-hand how they can make a positive difference.

• Start small. Do little projects to help others and begin at an early age.

• Consider a charity allowance. Set aside a percentage of each child’s monthly allowance for charity and let them decide where to donate the money at the end of six months.

• Support them. Allow their ideas to flourish and help their dreams become reality whether that means lending moral support, providing necessary transportation and equipment, or giving them a pat on the back to keep them going.

• Remember: Encouraging your children to participate in charitable endeavors is a gift to them, as well as to the people whose lives they touch.


December 26, 2011

Although the holidays are a very busy time of year for everyone, I want to take a few moments to say THANK YOU for being part of our Build-A-Bear Workshop extended family and best wishes to each of you for a happy holiday and New Year.

When I started Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997, now almost 15 years ago, I wanted to make the experience of creating a stuffed animal the most personal, interactive and memorable experience it could be by offering the highest quality products at the best possible value. I also wanted to find great people with great heart to work in our stores who loved children and who could bring out the imagination of each Guest, through the fun of making a stuffed animal. Just a week before Christmas we commemorated the selling of our 100 millionth stuffed animal. We are proud and honored that so many of our furry friends are being hugged as we speak all around the world!

Based on my passion for this idea, combined with the spirit, dedication, and integrity of the many thousands of associates in our company and our stores around the world, Build-A-Bear Workshop continues to this day to be a place that makes people smile. We know we have a great responsibility to each of you to provide this experience with products that are safe and fun. If any of our products don’t meet our standards we will act quickly and accordingly. You have my personal commitment to deliver on this promise.

As many of you know, Build-A-Bear Workshop is commemorating its 15th Birthday in 2012! We will have the ongoing store events, unique products and special programs you have come to expect from us and we are also planning some added excitement during our year-long celebration. Be on the lookout for more information to come as we share many happy occasions and memories with you in the coming year.

I am so lucky to have your special friendship throughout the year and I look forward to hearing from you often with your suggestions and ideas about how to make Build-A-Bear Workshop even better. You can always write to me at Maxine@buildabear.com or post a comment or question on this blog. I will do my best to respond quickly 
Thank you all for taking the time to stay connected all year long.

Hugs to all, Happy Holidays and a beary Happy New Year,

Maxine Clark,
Founder and Chief Executive Bear


December 1, 2011

The invention of a lifetime!

My travels take me across the world to many great cities and when I visit our stores, to many great malls. To many people shopping is mundane and a nuisance. To me it is and always has been fun and enlightening. I have found some great ideas for our business looking at other businesses. From airlines to hotels and restaurants to museums and retailers–all of this is a great laboratory for us to see what the public likes and what we can adapt to our own bearstyle. I am especially a sucker for great packaging. Today was no exception.

My day was spent in Chicago–just an hour’s plane ride from St. Louis. The day was beautiful for travel and not too windy or cold. My ultimate reason for being in Chicago was a meeting with one of our landlords but on the way we got to stop at a mall in DT Chicago and then catch a quick bite of lunch before the meeting.

Between the mall and our meeting we spotted a Chick-Fil-A restaurant– the first and only one in DT Chicago. I am a pretty regular person and if the truth be known, Chick-Fil-A may be my all time favorite restaurant. I love the cow mascot almost s much as I love Bearemy. But most of all I love the great company that Chick-Fil-A creates. Their staff is happy and their food is very good for the price and they have many healthy choices for me to choose to go with my waffles fries 🙂

It was at the condiment center that I saw the most incredible idea–this new ketchup container. For years I have torn open the old ketchup pouch–maybe used 2-3 for one small order of fries. But not anymore–at least not at Chick-Fil-A. Enter the new Dip and Squeeze Heinz ketchup container. It’s even shaped like a ketchup bottle. You can open at the top to squeeze on your fries or sandwich or peel back to dip your fries into the container. In the same size container, you get 3x the ketchup, no messy fingers and you only use one. No mess and less packaging waste. BEAR-ILLIANT IDEA!! It was one of those moments that makes you say, “what a great idea” or ” why didn’t I think of that?” What this said to me above and beyond just the nice experience of clean fingers and less waste was someone was out there thinking and doing. Someone was as irritated as the rest of us but did something about it. Someone took an idea to reality.

This is the best of a creative mind at work–someone sees an everyday activity –eating at fast food restaurants and saw an opportunity to turn a nuisance into a pleasure. Not through high tech but through simple packaging. I am sure that engineering and design entered into it and someone at Heinz had to have the sense to see the business opportunity and back the product and Chick-Fil-A bought it. This is what makes ideas and what makes profits–a need or a void is filled by someone taking action–doing something rather than just lamenting about it.

I don’t know the inventor but I took an extra ketchup just to remind me to keep looking and listening. Ray Kroc didn’t invent hamburgers and Howard Schultz didn’t invent coffee—they just invented how to make both better and sell more! Everyday an idea is staring us in the face if we just live our lives with open eyes and SEE the opportunity and as we like to say at Build-A-bear: GO FUR IT!!

Thanks Heinz and Chick-Fil-A–you made my day!

Hugs and happy holidays,