A Family Tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company


{Disclaimer: We are working with the Vermont Teddy Bear Company to bring you this post, however, all opinions are our own!}

HAY look — a teddy bear made of hay!

In the early 1980s, an enterprising Vermonter named John Sortino discovered that there was a shortage of teddy bears made in the US.

He decided to make his own teddy bears in his garage and sell them on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. Over thirty years later, Vermont Teddy Bear Company now calls Shelburne home. The company opens its doors to curious kids (and kids at heart) who want to see how and where these sweet stuffed friends are made.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company

On a clear, cold day in early March, the Van Leuven clan descended upon Vermont Teddy Bear Co.’s headquarters. It was pretty easy to tell we were there when we saw the gigantic hay teddy bear sculpture at the beginning of the drive. As we got closer, we could see the bright colors of the building and my kiddos started to get really excited. That excitement built as we walked through the entrance doors.

Tour ticket

We were handed our tickets (in the form of little green buttons) for the tour and were ready to go!

My kids love the giant teddy bear.
The girls made a sweet new friend

We had a little bit of time to wait before our tour started so we wandered around the gift shop. My girls got to get some extra-large bear hugs from some massive teddies, and we all picked our favorite bears from each display. When it was time for our tour to start, we lined up outside the massive entranceway doors. Our tour guide, Bear Ambassador Danielle, really knew her teddy bear history!

Our Bear Ambassador, Danielle

As we walked into the factory, we were given a quick history of the company, as well as a run-down of the different “flavors” bears come in. Then we were off to see how the magic happens. All of the kids on the tour were equipped with pens and game cards for a fun scavenger hunt in the factory itself. They had to solve a word puzzle by finding different bears and writing down the letters that each bear was holding. Some of those bears were easy to spot, but there were a few that were very well-hidden in the rafters!

Our first stop was the cutting station.

Touring the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
Cutting station, all the bear parts, sweet furry bears

This was where the fur was measured and cut into all of the pieces that make a bear. The kiddos were shown some pieces and had to figure out what bear parts they were. We all got to choose a bear-shaped piece of fur to attach to our admission tickets.

The next station we got to see was sewing and assembly.

Pinning, assembly, and sewing

This is where the bears actually started to look like — well, bears. They are sewn inside out so the seam is hidden and the joints are inserted in the proper places. Once each bear part is fully stuffed, the pieces are put together and the bear is ready to be dressed.

There’s no reason for your bear to be naked.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company teddy bear costumes.
Showing off one of the many costume options

There are countless options for costumes and clothes, whether your bear is an athlete, a soldier, or a princess. If none of the outfits catch your eye, you can work with one of the designers to come up with a custom ensemble. The day we were there, we saw a bear in renaissance gown. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to bear clothes!

The highlight of the tour came at the end when we got to see the bear hospital up close.

Teddy bear patients at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company hospital.
Getting some extra TLC

Vermont Teddy Bear offers a lifetime guarantee and will repair or replace any damaged bear with no questions asked. As a nurse, this was definitely my favorite part of the whole day.

Making our own Vermont Teddy Bear Company teddy bears.
Cloe was up first to make her new bear

After our tour, we went back to the gift shop and both girls got to make their own bears. They chose the colors they wanted and stuffed the bears. Each girl added a special element: one spun the wheel and landed on love, and the other opted for imagination. My girls ended their special day by filling out their bears’ birth certificates. The bears were packaged in their special boxes, complete with air holes and snacks for the journey home.

Learning how Vermont Teddy Bear Company teddy bears are made.
Audrey’s turn to make her bear

Vermont Teddy Bear offers a wonderful, interactive look into how this classically American toy is made right here in our backyard. It’s a great way for locals and tourists alike to spend a delightful day!

We had a wonderful visit at Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
Thanks for a great day!


  1. Sarah, as VP of Customer Service at The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, I am interested in hearing feedback. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on where we could do better.

    We pride ourselves on making the worlds best teddy bears, of the highest quality and we can thank our great employees for that.

    I am sorry you experience at VTB was not one that match our high standards. I will certainly look into your feedback.

    And for those reading this, if your skills, attitude and interest match our job posting (seasonal or Part Time or Full Time) please apply and see for yourself…we are proud of what we do at The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. Shelburne, VT.

    PS for those of you that missed it, check out this story


    Our President – Bill Shouldice IV was on Fox Business last week sharing our latest initiative of how we are giving back to the community.

    Proud to call myself a VTB employee! Thanks again for the feedback and have an awesome day!”

  2. However… it is a horrible place to work. You are degraded on a daily basis. Exposed to God knows what that makes people even previously without allergies, very sick.
    And we were blamed for it. In addition pride in your work, stopping mistakes from being sent to customers is a fire able offense.
    Not a good outfit!
    Profit over people 100% even the 20 yr vets!

    • The company is not to blame for your being sick when you repeatedly told everyone there about your cough and getting sick from being in a field of wild parsnip. It is also unnecessary to air these complaints on this lady’s story about her family visit. To clarify, I am not currently employed with VTB.


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