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Build-A-Bear's Act III

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Having already found much success with its original Build-A-Bear concept as well as spin-off friends 2B made (where you design dolls), the hot toy retailer has hatched a third concept that involves designing your own remote-controlled cars called Ridemakerz.

In 2005, Larry Andreini, 44, an entrepreneur from Fairfax, Va., with a background in financial services and customer loyalty programs, came calling with a concept called Ridemakerz, a make-and-outfit your own toy car business. “He fit in with our culture,” Ms. Clark said in an interview. “He understood what it takes to bring a brand to reality.”

She decided to collaborate with Mr. Andreini in the form of a $3 million investment and an estimated $15 million in back-office support from Build-A-Bear Workshop.

The first Ridemakerz store is scheduled to open Friday at an entertainment and retail complex in Myrtle Beach, S.C., followed in July by an outpost at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

“Through the partnership we're able to see every store performance of every Build-A-Bear,” Mr. Andreini said. “We have access to data that tells us the best place to open our shops.”

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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