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Build a Bear promotion

Hundreds of customers lined the hallways of Southlake Mall to take advantage of Build-a-Bear's "Pay Your Age" deal last year.

Build-a-Bear is bringing back the popular "Pay Your Age" promotion that drew a massive crowd that stretched all the way across Southlake Mall in Hobart last summer.

People flocked to the mall at U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street to pay their kids' ages for the customizable teddy bears that normally run between $12 and $75. They found themselves trapped for hours in a line that snaked through the building, unwilling to disappoint their kids by going home empty-handed after promising a new bear.

Then-Southlake Mall Marketing Director Kristi Jackson said it was the biggest crowd she had ever seen there, including on Black Fridays.

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This year, St. Louis-based Build-a-Bear is bringing back the promotion in which people were able to pay as little as $1 for a bear, but is looking to cut down on the crazy lines that caused havoc across the country. Anyone interested must register online by Sunday to receive a ticket for the promotion, which will take place in stores from June 24 through 28.

More than 200,000 people nationwide will get tickets to make one furry friend for up to two children present at Build-A-Bear Workshops, including the one in the Southlake Mall in Hobart.

Build-a-Bear is requiring people to join its free Bonus Club loyalty program to register. Anyone who does so also enters in a sweepstakes for a birthday party experience valued at up to $250. For more information or to sign up, visit www.buildabear.com.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.