Kyle Barrett stands beneath the "Teddy Bear Arch" at Stuffington Bear Factory in Phoenix.
When we opened in 2010, one of our original suppliers was the Stuffington Bear Factory on Thomas Road in Phoenix.
We carried their cute coyotes, teddy bears, and snakes, among a number of items.
Then they closed. Or so we thought.
They actually moved to 1717 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix and resumed production. But we didn't realize that until this summer, when children's author Louise Gabriel -- who wrote about "Puddles the Raindrop" -- came in with a stuffed raindrop.
It was made in Phoenix, she said. At the ... Stuffington Bear Factory!
So, voila, we now have coyotes, snakes, teddy bears and other animals, like a furry javelina!
Kyle Barrett, who manages the operation, said the company dates back to 1959 when one of its first products was the bull that Tex ("That Ain't No Bull") Earnhardt included in every sale of a car or truck.
Over the years it has evolved into a spot for birthday parties, field trips, events, and team-building activities for companies.
It is a large cut-and-sew operation and private tours are available.
If you have been to Washington, D.C. and come across a stuffed elephant or stuffed donkey, it was probably made in Phoenix (American-made!).
Congratulations, Stuffington for almost 60 years in business in the Valley!