Build-A-Bear shuts down ‘Pay Your Age Day,’ citing overwhelming crowds

CHICAGO — The Build-A-Bear Workshop ended its "Pay Your Age Day" promotion by 10 a.m. Thursday due to extreme crowds and safety concerns.

In a post on Facebook, the company said: "Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional Guests [sic] at our locations due to crowds and safety concerns. We have closed lines in our U.S. and Canada stores. We understand some Guests [sic] are disappointed and we will reach out directly as soon as possible."

Customers flocked to Build-A-Bear stores across the country Thursday hoping to take advantage of a promotion that would allow people to pay their current age for any make-your-own furry friend in all stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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 July 12, 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 long.

Shoppers wait inside Water Tower Place. Photo credit: Cherelle Brianne‎

The line outside Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Thursday morning. Photo credit: Jamie Laureen Armstrong