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Boyds Bears is a line of collectible resin and stuffed teddy bears produced by Enesco On August 14, 2014, Enesco announced the company had "made the difficult strategic decision to place Boyds into hibernation". This announcement was communicated to retailers via an email from Michael Griffith, Senior Vice President, U.S. Sales.
Boyds Bears was founded by Gary M. Lowenthal and his wife, Justina Unger. They were owners of an antique shop, which although profitable, found difficulty maintaining an inventory of well priced antiques. They then turned to making and selling antique reproductions. Some of their more profitable reproductions included duck decoys. In 1984 they began sculpting with resin, at first making a line of miniature houses called "The Gnomes Homes". The first bear was a stuffed bear made for the couple's newborn son, Matthew. They began making and selling stuffed bears, and the bears became known as "Boyds Bears" for the town of Boyds, Maryland, where they lived and operated their business. The line of plush bears and hares was a hugely popular success, and in 1993 Boyds introduced the first resin bears. Today the Boyds company has several product lines, but the bears remain the most successful. Enesco acquired the company in 2008.
The Boyds Bears official fan club is called the "Loyal Order of Friends of Boyds!" It was founded in 1996. Membership costs US$29.99 for the 2007 kit, which included an exclusive denim tote, a 10" plush bear, bearstone and bearware member pin (all items are of coordinating colors). Newly designed kits are available annually. Benefits include exclusive members-only collectors items, an online newsletter and access to a members-only website.
On August 14, 2014, Enesco announced that 2014 is to be the final year of the Friends of Boyds collector's club, and that retailer order for the 2015 membership kit had been canceled.
Boyds products have won numerous awards in the toy and doll collectible circles. Some of these include Teddy Bear of the Year Awards, Doll of the Year Awards, Golden Teddy Awards, and National Association of Limited Edition Dealers Achievement Awards.
Most of the Boyds collection is sold via independent gift and collectible stores, as well as on the Internet, such as The Boyds Bears Store http://www.TheBoydsBearsStore.com The company operated one store, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, near its corporate headquarters. However, it closed early in 2011 The Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, location closed in 2007.
It was announced that the Pigeon Forge & Gettysburg stores closed to put more "emphasis on supporting independent retailers versus our own superstores".
- "Boyds 101" From the official website.
- Awards and Nominations page of the official website.
- McMillan, Eyana Adah (2010-12-23). "Boyds Bear Country store to close after holidays". The York Dispatch.
- Yeldell, Cynthia (2006-08-30). "Boyds says bye, seeks developer". Knox News Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2006-09-27.
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