The first Build A Bear Workshop opened at the Saint Louis Galleria in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA in 1997 and was founded by Maxine Clark. It is a teddy bear-themed experience retail store that combines the universal appeal of plush animals with an interactive process that allows children from 3 to 103 to create their own huggable companions. Each Workshop location features a wide variety of new best friends to choose from as well as a vast assortment of clothes and accessories designed and updated regularly to reflect current fashion trends.In 2006, the company acquired The Bear Factory from Hamleys and began operating in its flagship store in London. Currently, all Build A Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and the United Kingdom, are company owned and operated and are not franchised. Now there are stores in Bahrain, Kuwait, and three outlets in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, UAE.