Stuffington Bear factory tour…

Sometimes, blogging gets you some pretty cool perks… :)
One of those fun benes happened last week, where we were given a tour of the Stuffington Bear Factory, which is located right here in Phoenix!
Last Thursday, we had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at Stuffington touring the factory and checking out their in house store…
where we found that they make a lot more than just teddy bears!
Hands down, this isn’t just a little kid stop! We met Vaughn’s snowbirding Uncle Steve and Aunt Dolores there, along with their daughter Bev who had flown down to visit them…
We all spent a few minutes checking out the shop while a previous group finished up their tour and activities. The store is located right in the front of the factory, and can be visited without scheduling, or taking, a tour.
We had called the week before and scheduled a tour; for a group our size (more than 10), there is a nominal tour fee, and tour times can be set up to accommodate your schedule (and need to be made ahead of time).
If you have a group/family smaller than 10, and would like a tour of the factory (which takes approx. 15 to 20 minutes), FREE factory tours are offered every day, Monday through Saturday, at 1pm; no need to schedule, just show up!
We were given a short talk on how the teddy bear originated while we waited for a school group to finish their tour just ahead of us. And our great tour guide even played Jeopardy with the kids – the questions were, of course, about animals – mostly (teddy) bears :)
One of the things that really impresses me about the Stuffington Bear Factory, is their commitment to MADE IN THE USA. Not just the finishing of the bears, but every aspect of their creation, right down to the components that the stuffed animals are made with. Stuffington’s stand on Made in the USA is pretty impressive; they even devote a page on their website that explains WHY buying US products is so important (it is tactfully and clearly presented, and is very kid appropriate – my middles had to read it for ‘school’ 😉
The kids were pretty excited to get to visit the factory (and they didn’t even know the surprise that awaited them!) – after all, who doesn’t love teddy bears???
In the factory, we walked past rolls and rolls of fake fur. Our guide explained that Stuffington is also quite committed to recycling also – all of the scraps of fur, left over when animal pattern pieces are cut out, are recycled.
Stuffington makes a lot more than just bears!
They custom create items for companies that are looking for promotional items, and also can customize animals with embroidery on bandannas, bear t-shirts…, or even directly on the stuffed animal.
Stuffington has been around since 1959, and seems to be quite involved in giving back to their community. I was impressed by their business etiquette!
During our tour, we got to see Stuffington bear bodies being sewn, shown how the eyes and nose are attached so they can’t come off, then see how they turn the animals right-side-out for stuffing, how they are filled with stuffing, and how the backs are sewn shut.
Then, back out to the front of the factory, where the 3 little girls got to pick and stuff their own teddy bears!!!
And yep, You can go to Stuffington and stuff a bear any day, at any time, too!!!
Anytime during business hours, you (and/or your kids, and/or your grands ;), can stop by the factory and, for $12, you too can choose a bear and stuff it!!! ~there are also all sorts of other animals that you can stuff (price varies) – Beth’s favorite was the white donkey with patriotic fabric patches.
Emma pressing the pedal on the stuffing machine…
She REALLY got into the making of her bear!
Our guide was one of the ladies that sewed up the backs of the girls’ bears once they were stuffed…
Then the girls took their bears to the next station, where another employee ran a hand-held buffer, which he moved along the seams on their bears. The buffer pulled out any fur that had been caught in the seams when they were sewn. That gave the bears a more finished look, making the seams less noticeable
At the next station, the girls vacuumed off their bears – this fluffed their fur more after the fabric was stored on the rolls and matted down a bit. It also took off any loose threads from the sewing process (plus the girls just liked combing them with the combs that are on the vacuum heads).
Then it was off for bear baths! At this last stop, pressurized air fluffed the fur removing any dust or vacuum lines…
before the last stop, where the girls were able to choose 2 colors of ribbon to personalize their bears…
The girls LOVE their Stuffington bears! And even moreso because they felt like they had a part in making them themselves…
We had a fun time at the Stuffington Bear Factory! It was fun to see how stuffed animals are made BY HAND – by people instead of machines :)
It was, hands down, a great on-the-road stop! Thanks Stuffington, for a fun field trip for Our Traveling Tribe, and for the girls’ new bedtime snuggly buddies – they love them!
Open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm, the Stuffington Bear Factory is located at 2302 East Thomas Road (Phoenix, Arizona 85016), which is just a few blocks off 51N, and just a little over a mile north of I10. Easy to get to! (and, just so you know, the store offers quite a few stuffed animals that are not available online…shhh! 😉
If you cannot make it to the factory for your own bear-stuffing adventure and/or free tour, you might consider a visit to the Stuffington Bear Factory website where you can check the company, and it’s products, out for yourself. There you will discover quite a few adorable animals waiting to find their new homes… <3

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. I can’t believe I’ve missed that place. As soon as Jim is ready – we are going there.

  2. Awesome!!!! We love “factory” tours too!

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