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Struggling through the crowds at Meadowhall is no joke, but like a shining star, out of the pain rose up the Bear Factory.
We were drawn in like bees to honey. Met at the door by Pudsey Bear (they have raised over £70,000 for Children in Need) it took us a few minutes to understand what this was all about.
The signs told us everything but we didn’t fully understand until we looked a little further. Racks and racks of ‘empty’ teddy bears stood in front of us, so we looked a little further.
The idea is that you choose your teddy body, and there are a number to choose from, then you take it to the stuffing man. We watched as he filled the teddies for expectant young faces – teddies coming to life before our very eyes. He gave each child the choice of filling, you could have your bear squidgy, firm or hard, and your child is given the task of pressing the stop button at the end of the fill.
Next, choose a voice for him, numerous voices were available, or you can record your own message, then on to the sewing table where two young girls worked steadily at placing the voices finishing off your teddy.
We spent some time browsing the shelves where there were all manner of clothes and accessories for your teddy, ranging from around £5.00 upwards. There was even a wedding dress and wedding suit and yes, you can buy your teddy a Passport. The shop was, as you can imagine, busy but what a thrill, it was by far the best shop we saw all day.
When your teddy is complete, and you have given him a name, he is given his own little house to keep him safe on the journey home.
Cost – prices slashed to £9.99 for the basic bear, accessories cost extra but were by no means overpriced.
Are they worth it, definitely, but, and there always is one. Don’t just purchase one of these to wrap and put under the tree. Any child loves a teddy, but the thrill of going to the shop, picking your own bear and having a hand in making him would fill most children with awe. That was obvious from the faces we saw. So don’t do it yourself, take your child to do it for themselves, or buy them a gift voucher, otherwise it is just any other teddy.
The shop cater for organised parties as well, food for thought for playgroups and schools. Have your child’s birthday party there and you will get goody bags for all the guests, and hour of fun and games, entertainment with Ted the Tailor and a gift for the birthday boy/girl. The cost is only £2.50 per person, plus the cost of anything else you buy while you are there. There is no age limit, and no minimum number of guests.
Where is it: Situated bang in the middle of the Lower Mall. If you are still unsure follow the signs for the Yellow Car park, and you will be heading in the right direction.
Where is Meadowhall: Just off the M1 at Junction 34. It is well signposted from the Motorway.
By Car: There are 12,000 free car parking spaces, these are well laid out and access into the shopping complex is good.
By Train: There are regular train services to Meadowhall, and a covered walkway between the station and the shopping centre. The walk is relatively easy, but there are stairs and it could be tiring for those less able on their feet.
By Bus: There are regular bus services to Meadowhall, they drop you right outside the shopping centre.
Bear Factory: To make enquiries or arrange an organised party telephone 0114 256 8489.
Visit their website for more information http://www.thebearfactory.co.uk/. Here your child can draw an outfit for teddy (for fun only), print out a photo for teddy’s passport, create your own Bear Factory ID card, print a teddy picture to colour in, print out invites for your Bear Factory party, and find details of events being held throughout the year.
Go on, have a ball, every one loves a teddy, call in to the shop and enjoy…
i still havent got a bear factory bear yet, its not fair!
Littleswamp1 11.01.2005 02:28
Lovely review. nice to see a shop that can create something extra special. Teddies are made to be cherished, but when the child has a hand in making it, it is theirs and will be loved even more!
Sunshine22 15.12.2004 16:36
They opened a Bear Factory Shop here in Dubai at the end of last year and I just love going in. I noticed the other day that there is a complete Kilt outfit for the bear of your choice which I think would be just so cool, have dropped loads of hints to hubby, so fingers crossed. Enjoyed the read ~ Carol