Build-A-Bear closes lines nationwide over safety concerns for 'Pay Your Age' day

PHOTO: The Build-A-Bear store in Belfast where police were called to deal with crowds who turned up for an over subscribed pay your age promotion and has since had to close, July 12, 2018.PlayNiall Carson/AP
WATCH Frenzy and frustration for Build-A-Bear 'pay your age' promotion

Build-A-Bear Workshop has closed the lines to its stores nationwide and in Canada after receiving an "overwhelming response" to its first-ever "Pay Your Age" day promotion.

The popular children's store announced Monday the sale, which would allow kids to pay a price that matched their age for any bear.

Frenzied parents and children in search of a deal flocked to malls to take advantage, prompting the store to stop allowing additional guests due to "safety concerns," it said in a statement. The move was made at the request of local authorities, Build-A-Bear wrote on Twitter.

"We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event," the statement read. "We understand that many Guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the line."

PHOTO: Parents and kids in line for close to an hour at Coral Square mall, for the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pay Your Age Day event, July 12, 2018.Carline Jean/SF Sun Sentinel/Polaris
Parents and kids in line for close to an hour at Coral Square mall, for the Build-A-Bear Workshop Pay Your Age Day event, July 12, 2018.

PHOTO: A closed sign on the window of the Build-A-Bear store in Belfast where police were called to deal with crowds who turned up for an over subscribed pay your age promotion, July 12, 2018.Niall Carson/AP
A closed sign on the window of the Build-A-Bear store in Belfast where police were called to deal with crowds who turned up for an over subscribed 'pay your age' promotion, July 12, 2018.

Stuffed animals from the shop typically range from $16 to $75.

Vouchers were given to guests who were present in lines to be redeemed at a later time, and vouchers have been available online to Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members in the U.S. and Canada who log on to their accounts by midnight, the store said. The vouchers will be honored through Aug. 31.

In New York City, the Build-A-Bear Workshop on 34th Street near Herald Square stretched for blocks. Jackie Kelso, a manager of the Manhattan Build-A-Bear, told ABC News that “well over 1,500 people” showed up to the store. People began arriving at the store around 6 a.m., and some customers expressed frustration due to the long waits, she said.

PHOTO: Fans wait in line for Build-a-Bears Pay Your Age sale at Cool Springs Galleria Franklin, TN, July 12, 2018.Shelley Mays/The Tennessean/USA TODAY
Fans wait in line for Build-a-Bear's "Pay Your Age" sale at Cool Springs Galleria Franklin, TN, July 12, 2018.

"I think it's great," Kelso said of the unexpected response to the promotion, which she said was meant to highlight the store's new "Count Your Candles" birthday program. "I think we had a great outcome, and a lot of people are really excited about it."

At the Richland Mall in Waco, Texas, hundreds of people were seen standing outside of the store, waiting for a turn to create the perfect stuffed companion.

One shopper in Wesley Chapel, Florida, recorded the madness outside the Shops at Wiregrass shopping center, writing, "My heart goes out to all the @buildabear employees. May you find rest tonight."

Another shopper at the Northpark Mall in Davenport, Iowa, advised others not to come because the line stretched from one end of the mall to the other.

Parents and children braved the heat at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego, California, to snag a discounted bear as well.

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